City officials respond to roof collapse near Tech - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/20/10

City officials respond to roof collapse near Tech

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By Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - City officials met with business owners on Tuesday who occupy the building on 13th and University, part of which collapsed on Friday, and they want to make sure that this doesn't happen again.

The city declared the Nest Flower Shop and Rear Boutique a total loss. The other businesses that occupy the front of the building were told that their space is stable. Now the City is speaking out to commercial property owners, saying that public awareness is the key to making sure this doesn't happen to their building.

Angelo Rosendo, the owner of Vertex Salon on University, learned on Tuesday that his business was safe and stable. "I feel safe enough to work here, am I completely changed from here on out, absolutely, but I think that's just human nature."

On Friday, after days of rain, the roof collapsed over the Nest Flower Shop. The City says it was the lack of a proper drainage system on the roof, which caused water to pond and eventually cave in the roof.

The Nest Flower Shop is directly behind Rosendo's salon. He was working when he heard it all unfold. "It's a life changing experience, it's almost like being in a horrible car crash or listening to a person that's been in a tornado, I don't think I'll ever be the same in bad weather again in our building."

The Vertex Salon remains closed, because of no electricity, but Rosendo hopes to have it up and running by the beginning of next week.

"Hopefully some good will come out of some of these old buildings, maybe they should be checked a little more often," says Rosendo.

NewsChannel 11 asked the City of Lubbock if there are any policies that state buildings should be inspected on a regular basis.

Chief Building Official Steve O'Neal says, "There is not any kind of on-going program for inspections of buildings on a periodic basis, you won't find that really anywhere in the state of Texas or nationally speaking."

He also says whenever a building is first constructed, it must be approved by the city, after that it becomes the owner's responsibility to make sure it is maintained.

"We certainly don't have the man power or the resources to conduct city-wide inspections that really can't be done, I wish it could," says O'Neal.

He says the building on 13th and University would not meet present building code standards today, and that's why he encourages owners of older buildings to really pay attention.

"The thing that we can do realistically speaking is try to have a public awareness effort put out there," says O'Neal. He also says that if you are a business owner, and your property has a flat roof, you need to keep an eye on it after it rains. "Check it periodically, see if the ponding appears to be reducing which means its flowing off, if it doesn't appear to be reducing and it's standing out in the middle of the roof then there's a problem."

O'Neal says if you think you have a problem with your roof not draining properly, it is best to get it checked out. You can call the city or a roofing company to come take a look.

These are easy steps that could hopefully prevent this from happening again.

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