Nearby business owners are responding to a mall roof collapse in Kimberling City, Missouri on Wednesday.

KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. (KY3) — Part of a shopping center in Kimberling City is off limits as crews add up the damage after a roof collapsed during heavy rain Wednesday morning.

The roof collapsed around 9 a.m. The city inspected buildings to the left and right of the collapse. A nearby business owner says he was shocked to hear what happened.

“First of all, I’m just glad no one is where it collapsed,” said Kylie Garrison, owner of Garrison Heating and Air. “It can be a scary situation, and I hope it doesn’t happen to any other business in the mall.”

Garrison says, thankfully, nothing like this has ever happened to his company.

“We haven’t seen any issues yet, but it’s pretty close to where we’re working, so it’s a bit unnerving to be so close to where it happened,” said said Garrison.

City of Kimberling Public Works Director Randy Reed said the collapse affected more than half a dozen mall units. Detectives don’t know how much this has affected them at this time. This is why the police strip runs along a long section of the center.

“Don’t try to cross this to get close to damage, because we have no idea about stability,” Reed said. “That’s why we won’t allow anyone in until they’ve been seen by a structural engineer.”

The area where the roof collapsed had not been in use for years. The building is old and couldn’t withstand the downpours on Wednesday.

“The water weighs about eight pounds per gallon, tons of water accumulated, and when it did, it all came together into one, and that’s what caused it to fail and s ‘collapse,” Reed said.

As you pass the mall, you will also notice some boarded up windows. Reed says part of the roof went through the windows.

“That’s what blew it up in the parking lot,” Reed said.

Officials inspected businesses on the west side of the mall and said they were doing well.

“I know the Funky Monkey is open; The Fordland Clinic is also open,” Reed said. “It was really just ‘The Taco Lady’ who was affected by this.”

Officials say the Taco Lady restaurant will resume operations as soon as the structural engineer gives clearance.

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Edwin S. Wolfe