St. Paul won't charge owner in roof collapse

  • Updated: July 8, 2010 - 10:09 PM

St. Paul officials will not cite or charge the owner of an apartment building that suffered a partial roof collapse Tuesday morning, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

There isn't a city ordinance for which owner Wally Wickard could be cited, said Angie Wiese, spokeswoman for the city's department of safety and inspections. The city's inspection of what caused the collapse at 954 Galtier St. about 9:45 a.m. was limited because inspectors could not go inside the structure, she said.

The city inspector's report showed that the collapse could have been caused by a number of things: the weight of the roof itself, the weight of anything on the roof (12 roofers and piles of new shingles were on it at the time), deterioration of the wooden rafters and joists or deterioration of the connection between them.

The back half of the building, where the roof dropped about four feet and a wall buckled out, was demolished Tuesday. The front half is still standing and will be evaluated for structural soundness. Tenants are being allowed to retrieve personal items from that portion.

Wickard said he's owned the building for 25 years, and that Tuesday was the first time during his ownership that major work on the roof has been performed. A June 25 inspection of the building found 48 violations, including general deterioration of exterior surfaces.

Asbestos was found in the building, but it is being contained and will be appropriately disposed of, Wiese said.

Seventeen people were displaced from the 100-plus-year-old building. Most were home at the time of the collapse, but no one was injured.

CHAO XIONG

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