UPDATE: Kmart reopens but part of store remains off-limits - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Kmart reopens but part of store remains off-limits

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Less than a week after part of its roof collapsed, Kmart reopened it's doors today. But part of the store remains off-limits.

A section of the store is currently walled off to protect customers and keep cold air out of the rest of the store.  During last Thursday's winter storm the roof caved in over part of the store. Currently, temporary supports are preventing the roof from further collapse and causing more damage. You can see auto supplies and some children's toys but the rest of the area is inaccessible.

"At this time, we don't have any estimates at how much damage we do have, as far as dollars. We haven't been able to get to all the merchandise to get a full count," Harvey Reckard, the store's manager says. The store's manager says the collapse was so powerful; it caused the doors at the front of the store to open. It is still unknown when the roof will be fixed.

 
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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Less than a week after part of the roof caved in, Eau Claire's Kmart is set to reopen.

Thursday's powerful winter storm sent a large chunk of the roof, 75' by 75', crashing to the ground. No one was hurt. The store was open at the time. It happened right over the garden center inside the store. There's no word yet on the cost of the damage, but Kmart says the Clairemont Avenue store will reopen Tuesday morning.

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's unclear when the Eau Claire Kmart will reopen.  Part of the roof collapsed last night under the weight of the snow.

The piece that collapsed was 75 feet by 75 feet.  It happened near the garden center.  The store was open at the time, but no one was hurt. 

Friday, Kmart released a statement saying it's working with local authorities and the landlord on what steps need to be taken next. 

Kmart says the store on Claremont will be closed until further notice.


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UPDATE -- Statement from Kmart:

"The Kmart at 2424 E. Clairemont in Eau Claire will be closed until further notice.  On Thursday, Feb. 20 at approximately 6:45 p.m. CT, the store's roof collapsed due to the heavy snow accumulation. The store was open at the time of the incident. There were no injuries to customers or associates. We are working with the local authorities and the landlord on next steps regarding the store's condition.  The nearby Kmart stores in Chippewa Falls and Menomonie are open to serve our members with their shopping needs."   

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The roof of a store was no match for a powerful winter storm Thursday night.

Part of the roof at the Eau Claire Kmart collapsed Thursday. No one was hurt. There were employees and customers inside. The piece that collapsed was 75' by 75'. It happened right over the garden center inside the store. There was a smell of natural gas in the area after it happened. To be safe, firefighters evacuated the nearby Holiday convenience store and Erbert and Gerbert's restaurant. Xcel Energy sent crews in and shut off the gas. They believe some gas lines broke as the roof collapsed. Firefighters also had other concerns as well.

"With the sprinkler system and the roof collapse we do have some damage to those pipes there," said Eau Claire Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Bell. "We were able to turn the water off from inside and we have mitigated that from further water damage. At this time we are worried about heat loss and getting this building back up and running with heat and water so we don't have any damage from the cold."

Firefighters say the gas levels in the building never reached a point where they were worried about an explosion, but they wanted to play it safe so that's why they evacuated the nearby businesses. There's no word yet on the cost of the damage or when the store will reopen.

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UPDATE: Xcel Energy says there are no elevated levels of natural gas in the area. A spokeswoman says crews believe some gas lines broke as the roof collapsed, but gas has been shut off and their crews have left the scene.

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UPDATE:  The nearby Holiday convenience store and Erbert & Gerbert's restaurant are being evacuated. There are concerns about a natural gas leak due to the roof collapse.

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Firefighters are on the scene at Eau Claire's Kmart where part of the roof has collapsed.

Our reporter on the scene was told that everyone is OK.  He also says he could smell natural gas in the area.  Stay with Eau Claire's Own News 18 for updates.

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