HOWARD CITY, Mich. (Feb 27, 2014) – A road commission storage garage in Montcalm County has withstood more than 40 previous winters. In fact, the snow-load on top of that very garage was checked by the county’s maintenance superintendent, Mark Christensen, just days before it collapsed.
Christensen said a rough preliminary estimate of the damage is expected to be a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Some of the machines buried under snow and debris are used themselves to clear snow from the roads of Montcalm County.
On Thursday, the clean up was left to Paul Clarke and his employees at Statewide Disaster Restoration.
“As long as we get the roof off of it we are in good shape,” said Clarke.
Among the machines buried in rubble was a new Ford pick-up with just 22,000 miles on it.
“I knew it was going to be bad when we got in there to clean it up,” said Christensen.
The damage to the road commission building was discovered a week prior as Christensen was heading into work.
“I think the rain on Thursday night probably added to the weight and also there were 50 miles an hour wind that night,” he said. “The two together didn’t help it a bit and that’s probably the cause.”
The building was used for dry storage, storing lawnmowers, old plows, tractors, and trucks. Most of the equipment, although damaged will be salvaged. The commission hopes to rebuild the the building as soon as they can so they can have a place to store the equipment in the future.
The equipment and the building are covered by the county’s insurance.
“You cannot predict a disaster when it happens by now means, you just have to work through it,” said Christensen. “No one was hurt so that is the main thing.”
And as for the truck with only 22,000 miles, even with a broken taillight, a damaged door, a shattered window, and a bed full of debris, the contracted clean-up crew was able to start it up and drive it out of the rubble.
“I never thought we would drive some of that stuff out so it makes you feel a little better that there is some repair to it, you are not going to scrap it all,” said Christensen. “It’s a good feeling to see it coming out of there, even in tough shape.”
The folks at Statewide Disaster Restoration said they have been extremely busy this winter. Clarke said in the beginning of the winter it was broken pipes and now they are working more than a half-dozen roof collapses in the state. They expect to have the Montcalm County garage cleaned out in two days.