Repair work on CarQuest building in Kenai under way

Cleaning up the damage

Crews are still working to mitigate and repair damage to the Kenai CarQuest Auto Supply store, which was nearly destroyed when its roof collapsed March 18.


The store was closed after its roof gave way, sending debris through the front windows, breaking its fire sprinkler system and flooding the parking lot in front of it with about a foot of water. No one was injured.

The CarQuest store occupies the same 40-year-old building as Jersey Subs and the Thai Town restaurant at 106 South Willow Street. Both Jersey Subs and Thai Town have been closed since, property manager Joe Arness said.

"Until we can get this part cleaned up and get an engineer to look at it, it is assumed the building is condemned," Arness said, noting the water, gas and power to the building are all shut off.

Arness was still unsure if the roof's snow load, which hadn't been cleared during the winter, was to blame.

"It clearly was roof failure but we don't know why," he said. "(Snow) was likely a contributing factor."

Estimates on the total amount of damage caused are still unknown, Arness said.

"We're ringing the cash registers now," he said. "... When you drive by you can just see the money. It is a lot of people and a lot of equipment and a lot of stuff that's got to happen."

Crews have already taken the front off the CarQuest building and currently are working to remove portions of its roof, removing inventory as they go.

"It's great fun," Arness said with a laugh.

Arness said the rest of the building's roof would need to be examined to determine whether it can stay or needs to be scrapped.

"That's a question for an engineer, not me," he said.

Plans are in place to rebuild the CarQuest and Arness said he hopes to have the whole building up and running as soon as possible.

"The hope is that within three or four months we can have it open," he said. "I didn't say we are going to, I said the hope is."

Damage to Thai Town was at first unknown, but Arness said he suspected the extent only reached as far as a bit of water damage.

"The roof system has been damaged and it leaked when the snow started melting off the roof," he said. "We mitigated that primarily and held it to a minimum."

It is possible Jersey Subs and Thai Town open early before CarQuest is rebuilt considering the gas and electric valves are separate for each business, Arness said.

"Certainly at least Jersey Subs," he said. "The Thai Town area got wet, the suspended ceiling is gone and there needs to be some work done in there before that can be re-accessed. Jersey Subs, when you walk into it doesn't look like anything happened. It looks like it is in a whole different building."

Brian Smith can be reached at