APPLE VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — A church in Apple Valley is facing a major cleanup after the roof on its gymnasium collapsed overnight.
Firefighters were called to Heritage Lutheran Church after the collapse triggered the alarm system. It damaged water and gas lines in the building.
“You have a lot of construction debris, a lot of debris from insulation and trusses and wood shards and pieces just littered all over the place,” said Fire Chief Nealon Thompson. “And there are areas you can’t get to, that are impassable anymore because it’s a big pile of debris sitting in the middle of what was the gymnasium.”
Thompson said he’s not sure yet whether heavy snow may have caused the roof to cave in or if this could be the result of a design flaw.
Fortunately, no one was inside. The church has programs for kids in preschool and kindergarten during the day.
Thompson said the folks there decided to close the gym off earlier this week and not allow people inside after they noticed something was wrong.
“The drywall cracking, the paint peeling, some shifting is what alerted them to some structural issues. Which then they started calling people to assist them calling the experts out to see what was up,” said Thompson.
An engineer was scheduled to come out today to inspect the gym.
While the rest of the building appears to be fine, Thompson said no one will be allowed inside until it’s inspected and deemed safe.