MASON CITY, Iowa – Shoppers and employees were evacuated from Walmart on Saturday morning after a portion of the roof collapsed.
Chief Bob Platts with the Mason City Fire Department tells us that there have been no injures reported, but that there was one employee in the stock room at the time of the collapse. We are told the man jumped into, and hid inside one of the distribution trucks parked at a loading dock, and crews were able to get him out safety.
Kevin Losee was one of the many patrons shopping that morning and says, “It was a very different trip to Walmart.” He tells us that at first, he thought the noise he heard was a crack of thunder, and with all of the activity in the store at the time, he figured someone might have dropped something. But, little did he know that moments later everyone would be evacuated.
“Sirens started going off, and I saw all of the employees start running,” Losee says. “They were saying to evacuate the store and just leave the carts and go so, that’s what we did.” Platts says this orderly and quick evacuation was what made this incident into something manageable, rather than a complete disaster.
Authorities on scene tell us the incident occurred between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and that all of the damage from the collapse is on the southeast corner of the building. Officials on scene say that heavy rain is most likely to blame for the collapse, however structural engineers are on scene assessing the damage to see if there were other structural issues prior to the storm.
Walmart was closed for the day on Saturday and we are told that the superstore will not reopen until all assessments of the structure have been made.