Anchorage firefighters have responded to two partial collapses of commercial roofs in two days this week, as the city sets seasonal snowfall records.
Both buildings were occupied during the collapses but everyone got out safely and no injuries were reported, according to Anchorage Fire Department spokeswoman Lexi Trainer.
Firefighters responded to the latest collapse, at the automotive accessory business Safe & Sound in the 7400 block of the Old Seward Highway just north of East 76th Avenue, at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Trainer said crews from the Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility also responded.
“There was a large amount of water in the street and we did end up having to call AWWU,” Trainer said. “And they ended up taking care of that aspect, because there was a substantial amount of water flowing into the side street there.”
The earlier collapse, reported at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, also occurred in South Anchorage in the 600 block of Raspberry Road.
The cause of both collapses remains under investigation, Trainer said, although both buildings had flat roofs with snow load at the time.
Anchorage’s first collapses this winter — both involving flat-roofed commercial warehouses — occurred in December, after November’s major storms. Last week muni authorities recommended owners of residential and commercial buildings shovel snow from their roofs, saying 500 to 1,000 local structures have “roof trusses of immediate concern.”
That warning came before a storm that dumped more than a foot of snow overnight Sunday, pushing Anchorage past the 100-inch seasonal mark for winter snowfall on its earliest recorded date.
A fire department statement cited that milestone Wednesday, urging residents to seek professional help assessing any buildings that may be at risk.
“If you have concerns about your home or commercial building, a structural engineer is the best person to conduct a building evaluation and determine risk and/or safety,” Trainer wrote in the statement.