Roof caves in on Nikiski warehouse Shoveling wasn't enough

Posted: Monday, February 07, 2000

With one area roof collapse in the past week and the threat lingering over others, Peterkin Distributors Inc. is the most recent addition to the list of serious roof damages.

"We are still in shock over this," said Bob Peterkin in a press release. "We are just so thankful that no one was hurt."

Motion sensors in the warehouse alerted the security company that the flat roof of the building collapsed at approximately 3 a.m. Friday. Peterkin, who, along with his wife, own the Kenai based company, said he was awakened by the security firm shortly thereafter.

Peterkin met Alaska State Troopers at the warehouse and, shortly after entering the main storage area, the group noticed broken roof beams blocking the further entry into the area.

The Nikiski Fire Department immediately was summoned to the scene due to the worry of broken gas lines and electrical wires. The fire department notified utilities companies who immediately shut off gas to the building. Power stayed on until crews were able to remove limited inventory from the undamaged portion of the warehouse.

The trusses had caved into the floor, said Nikiski Fire Depart-ment Assistant Chief Dan Greg-ory.

Damage was sustained to the older part of warehouse, which was built in 1974, and Gregory was concerned about the new addition built in 1984. The two buildings were separated by a bearing wall which also was damaged extensively, he said.

Gary Stroh, general manager of Peterkin, said reasons for the collapse have yet to be determined, but he speculated recent heavy snows contributed to the problem.

Approximately 6,000 square feet of roof fell in, according to Peterkin's son, Rod. Products were damaged, but there is no estimate of value at this time.

The warehouse roof had been shoveled earlier this year, Stroh said, and efforts for a second clearing were half finished when the rains began earlier in the week.

Bob Peterkin and his wife, Bonnie, started Peterkin Distri-butors in 1966. The company distributes groceries to hospitals, restaurants, schools, prisons and has the main line for dairy distribution. The business serves Seward, Homer and the central Kenai Peninsula. They also have warehouses in Anchorage and Dutch Harbor.

Peterkin Distributors currently is working on finding an alternative location to serve customers, Peterkin said. He said he hopes the company will be in full swing at a temporary location today.

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