January 2, 2013

Snow, wind may have caused gas-station canopy collapse

PLATTSBURGH — The weight of snow from recent storms combined with wind may be what caused a canopy at a local gas station to collapse in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, authorities said.

”There was not a final determination made to what the actual cause was,” however, Plattsburgh City Fire Department Capt. Edmund Sanderson said.

Capt. Michael Edwards, officer in charge, and six other city firefighters responded to Sandri Sunoco at 5051 U.S. Ave. shortly after 3:37 a.m. Tuesday morning, Sanderson said.

No one was injured in the collapse, and it is unlikely that any cars were under the canopy when it caved in, he said, as information saying otherwise was not listed in the Fire Department’s report.

The gas pumps the canopy sheltered were only slightly damaged, Sanderson said.

The Fire Department called owner Tahir Ayub soon after the 911 call came in to notify him of the canopy collapse, he said.

Firefighters waited for him to arrive so he could cut power to the pumps, Sanderson said. The fuel was stable once that was done, he said.


The City Public Works Department placed barricades around the gas station, and the Municipal Lighting Department disconnected the power, eliminating that hazard, Sanderson said.

”They wouldn’t let me go in because they weren’t sure if the rest of the canopy was going to fall,” Ayub told the Press-Republican Tuesday. “We stayed there until this morning, and I made some phone calls and couldn’t get a hold of anybody because it’s the New Year.”

But Ayub eventually was able to reach canopy repair specialists in Maine and made arrangements for them to travel to his business Wednesday to assess the damage.

He has insurance, and barring any serious damage, Sandri Sunoco should be open again within two weeks, the owner said.

Ayub is thankful no one was hurt when the canopy collapsed; the gas station, located in front of Sky Way Plaza and adjacent to a Burger King restaurant, had closed for the holiday at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

“It was a good thing that it happened when it happened, in the middle of the night.”

The Fire Department was back in service shortly after 5:30 a.m.

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