November 23, 2014

No serious injuries in Tanger roof collapse

Mall closed down until further notice

Eric Young
The front of the building collapses just before 2:30 p.m.
Eric Young
The collapsed ceiling can be seen through the front doors of the Ralph Lauren store, which were blown open during the collapse.
Eric Young
The front of the Ralph Lauren store shows the damage after it gave way.
Eric Young
The faƧade in front of the Ralph Lauren store hangs after the collapse.
Eric Young
Ogemaw County Sheriffā€™s Deputy Brian Gilbert talks with Vicki Seltz Barnes general manager of Tanger Outlet Center in West Branch.
Eric Young
A firefighter examines cracks in the east wall of the building.
Eric Young
The front of the building begins to collapse just before 2:30 p.m.
Eric Young
Debris flies off the roof as it collapses.
Eric Young
The faƧade on the front of the building is noticeably damaged.
Eric Young
Emergency personnel are parked in front of the Ralph Lauren store at Tanger Outlet Cener after a possible roof collapse Thursday afternoon.
Eric Young
The faƧade on the east side of the building is also noticeably damaged.
Eric Young
The faƧade on the front of the building is noticeably damaged.
Eric Young
Emergency personnel gather in front of Tanger Outlet Center.
Eric Young
The faƧade on the front of the building is cracked.
Thomas Williams
Pieces of the building fly into the air as the faƧade of the Polo store collapses.
Thomas Williams
Water from a broken pipe in the building runs past a broken piece of drywall in the parking lot.
Thomas Williams
Ogemaw County Emergency workers survey the situation.
Eric Young
The damage extended to the back of the Ralph Lauren store.
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Posted
2990 Cook Road
West Branch, Mi 48661
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WEST BRANCH TWP. — There were no serious injuries Thursday after part of the roof at Tanger Outlet Center collapsed at around 1:30 p.m.

Updated story: Tanger to be closed for the immediate future

“I think one person had a cut above their eye,” said Ogemaw Fire Chief Brent Banning. “But nothing major.”

A call went out over the police scanner at around 1:30 p.m. reporting that there had been a roof collapse at the Ralph Lauren store in West Branch. Banning said when the fire department arrived, no one was inside the building. 

The rest of the mall was evacuated shortly thereafter. 

A second collapse occurred just before 2:30 p.m., when the front wall of the building gave way. All of the damage appeared to be confined to the Ralph Lauren store. 

The cause of the collapse was not yet known Thursday afternoon, but fire officials suspected it had to do with heavy snow sitting on the roof. 

“I think it’s snow on the roof,” Banning said. “That’s the only thing I can come up with.”

Tanger General Manager Vicki Seltz Barnes said the outlet is closed until further notice. 

“We’re really happy no one was injured seriously,” Seltz Barnes said. “We have a structural engineer flying in and our corporate people are flying in to determine the situation.”

Banning said as of 3 p.m. he was waiting for the engineers to arrive to decide what the next step would be. 

“We’re going to find out what we’ve got to do here, if we want to start tearing it down,” Banning said. “Applebee’s is closed. I’ve got them closed down. We’re trying to keep everyone back, keep everybody safe.”

Banning said there will be security on hand overnight, to keep people away from the building and to prevent looting. 

“We’ve already talked about having security up here,” he said. “So we’re going to get somebody to watch it for the night and figure out what our next step is.”

Banning said the biggest concern is safety. 

“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.”

Ogemaw County Sheriff Howie Hanft told the Herald Thursday night that the inside of the Hanes store located next to the Ralph Lauren store also suffered major damage inside. The inside of the Van Heusen store also suffered some water damage, he said.

As of 9 p.m. Thursday evening, no additional damage had been done.

The Herald will continue to report as more information becomes available.

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