“We’re closed through the weekend and for as long as it will take us to identify that (the building) is safe for the stores to reopen,” said Ryan Byler, Tanger Outlet Center director of operations.
Byler said the site has been evaluated, but the extent of the damage has not yet been determined.
“We have all of our experts onsite,” he said. “All of the experts onsite are currently evaluating all the details. At this point, we don’t have details on the extent of the building that’s been affected.”
Byler said once all of the details have been evaluated, Tanger will make a decision on whether it can reopen some stores, and when.
“They have to put up a fence to make sure no one goes in there,” Ogemaw County Sheriff Howie Hanft told the Herald Friday.
As for Applebee’s, which was also closed after the collapse, Hanft said the earliest it could reopen would be Sunday.
“They will make that decision once they put the fence up,” Hanft said. “They are not sure what the structural integrity of the building is, so they have to make sure no one can get in there.”
Tanger was evacuated Thursday after the roof in the Ralph Lauren store on the east end of the building began to collapse. There were no serious injuries in the incident, though Hanft said two people did suffer minor injuries from falling ceiling tiles.
The front wall and façade collapsed just before 2:30 p.m., long after the building had been evacuated.
Hanft told the Herald Thursday that the Hanes store as well as the Van Heusen also suffered some damage in the collapse.
Officials believe the collapse was caused due to snow buildup on the roof, but an official cause has not yet been determined. Engineers from Tanger’s corporate office in North Carolina were expected Friday to assess the situation and determine what the next steps will be.
Tanger General Manager Vicki Seltz Barnes told the Herald Thursday that she was grateful that the incident wasn’t worse.
“We’re really happy no one was injured seriously,” she said.
Ogemaw Fire Chief Brent Banning told the Herald Thursday that he was concerned about issues in the rest of the building.
“My opinion is, if we had troubles here, the same amount of snow is all the way down,” he said. “I’m just worried about people’s safety. I don’t want something to happen here and have somebody get hurt over there.”
Staff Writer Thomas Williams contributed to this report.