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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Crews gather at Glenbrook Square after a roof collapse near Sears and TGI Fridays. No injuries were reported.

Snow buildup suspected in Glenbrook roof cave-in

Behind the plastic canopy you could hear the whir of machinery and catch little glimpses of men in hard hats.

But other than needing to take a detour through H&M to swing over to Starbucks, there was commerce going on as usual Tuesday afternoon at Glenbrook Square.

About 2 a.m., officials said a large section of roof collapsed in a corridor outside Sears that led to TGI Fridays. While parts of the mall were closed to foot traffic, other stores remained open – including Sears. TGI Fridays is closed until further notice, according to its Facebook page.

Glenbrook issued a short statement about the collapse, saying no one was hurt and that many stores were open normal hours.

“Yes, it was definitely a snow and drifting issue,” said Ken Hess, owner of Structural Engineer Services.

Hess declined to say much more about the collapse, saying he had been called to Glenbrook earlier in the day to examine the damage. He did say that this year’s heavy snow could cause problems for buildings with large, expansive and high roofs next to low-corridor roof areas.

“Anytime you have heavy winds or snow, like this year, there can be a buildup of the snow and it can create havoc for buildings with high/low roof conditions,” Hess said.

Newer buildings – ones built in the last 25 years – have been designed with a lot more safeguards for these types of problems, he said. Owners of older buildings in a similar style, though, need to be aware of potential problems if they see unusual movement on the roof or hear a crack, pop or similar noise.

These buildings might need to have work crews go up and get some of the snow off the roof if those things are noticeable, he said.

Glenbrook Square, one of the state’s largest indoor malls, was built in the mid-1960s.

And while roof collapses are rare, Hess went out to two others besides Glenbrook’s on Tuesday, he said.

Houses with sloped roofs don’t usually have problems like those that occurred at Glenbrook, he said.