Crews Work to Fix Overnight Roof Collapse at Fargo’s Centennial Elementary

A portion of the building's roof collapsed after 8:30 Tuesday evening because of heavy amounts of snow

FARGO, N.D. – Spring break couldn’t have come at a better time for Centennial Elementary.

A portion of the building’s roof collapsed after 8:30 Tuesday evening because of heavy amounts of snow.

The school knew about the weak portion of the roof on Monday and tried to relieve the weight.

“Yesterday we had probably 12 of our men and women that work in the custodial department up on the roof, shoveling snow off the roof, and trying to get as much snow off it as we can and we just couldn’t get it off in time,” Fargo Public Schools director of maintenance and operations Jim Frueh said.

It happened east of the gym and above the building’s conference room.

“We were over there looking at it when it first started sagging,” Fargo Fire Department battalion chief Dane Carley said. “Even though Centennial is a school with a lot of rooms inside, those walls for the classrooms don’t actually go all the way up to the ceiling to support the roof over it.”

There was only one person in the building at the time of the collapse and they were not injured.

The district took extra precautions once they realized the roof was in danger by turning off the sprinkler system.

“We really mitigated a lot of that damage by turning those systems off,” Frueh said. “There is very little water in the building. Of course, the water, we’re concerned about now is the snowfall that’s coming and the rain.”

Roofing crews are using a plastic shield to cover the top of the roof to prevent any snow or water damage from leaking through.

“We need to make some provisions of closing the hole up on the roof and making that all work for us so we can have the children here next week,” Frueh said.

The district is continuing to work with Fargo Fire, contractors, engineers, and roofing crews to make sure school starts on time Monday morning.

The only people allowed inside the building are those working to fix the collapse.

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