Heavy snow collapses awning at Highland building
BY MICHAEL GONZALEZ Post-Tribune correspondent January 10, 2014 11:58PM
Alan Siemer watches as a crew clears snow from an awning at 2821 Highway Ave. in Highland. Friday morning, a portion of the awning collapsed, damaging the front of the building and causing town officials to cordon off part of the sidewalk on the busy downtown street. | Michael Gonzaelz/For the Post-Tribune
Updated: February 12, 2014 6:12AM
HIGHLAND — No one was injured when a business’s awning collapsed under a heavy snow Friday morning, but it remained unclear how long the Bible Mission Thrift Center will remain closed.
At about 9 a.m., the weight of the packed snow ripped half of the metal awning from the front of the not-for-profit business, 2821 Highway Ave., dumping decorative and interior bricks onto the sidewalk.
Town officials cordoned off the area, and crews from Siemer Heating and Cooling worked to clear snow from the remainder of the awning, which also will be torn down.
The front of the building’s roof was buckled, but the building’s owner said it could have been much worse.
“It’s a good day, because you’d think it was a bad day, but it was a good day because nobody got hurt,” said George Siemer, who owned the heating and cooling business and the building where the damage occurred.
Siemer said he is working with town officials and a structural engineer to determine the extent of the damage and when the center can be reopened.
The center, at the location of the former Highland Department Store, is run by volunteers and, over the past 16 years, has donated $5 million in proceeds to Bibles for Colombia, a Christian missions organization.
As he watched a crew clear snow from the remainder of the awning, Alan Siemer, son of George Siemer, said he arrived at the site shortly after the incident.
“We evacuated the building just to be safe, and the town got some of the snow off, just to make it safe, and now we’re getting the rest of the snow off,” Alan Siemer said. “I just thank God nobody was hurt, obviously, and now it’s time to rebuild.”