APPLETON - Heavy rains in Appleton may have contributed to a partial roof collapse at a downtown business.
One third of the roof at Sign Works on College Avenue caved in just before 9 a.m. Monday.
One worker was inside. She told authorities she saw water dripping from the ceiling and got out just before the collapse.
College Avenue is open now after being closed to traffic for much of Monday. It reopened around 2:30. That was five and a half hours after the roof of the Sign Works building collapsed.
The Appleton Fire Department spent much of the day making sure the damage wouldn't get worse.
A picture from the Appleton Fire Department shows the partial roof collapse at Sign Works. Firefighters say the roof may have given way under heavy rains this morning.
"A third of the building's roof is gone," said Dave Reigles, Appleton Fire Department.
The National Weather Service says more than two inches of rain fell in Appleton Monday morning. The 113-year-old building has a flat roof covered with a rubber membrane.
"There was a lot of rain and sometimes those type of buildings have storm drains and they may have been clogged up," said Reigles.
Zachariah Wilson owns Powerhouse Comics next door. He says he's experienced small leaks in the roof of his building in the past and was concerned for what he might find.
"The nature of my business is all paper, so when I heard the roof next door collapsed, immediately I was like oh, everything was going to flood and I am going to lose a lot of stock and a ton of inventory," said Zachariah Wilson, owner Powerhouse Comics.
Judi Jiru has lived above the comic book store for about 10 years. She says she heard a loud bang outside her apartment and went outside to see what it was.
"I heard the fire engines and I thought 'what's going on?'" said Jiru.
Inspectors spent much of the day trying to determine if the damage extended beyond the rooftop to nearby buildings.
"The engineers have a much better idea of what is stable and what is not stable and what parts of the building are safe," said Reigles.
For Wilson, it was a sense of relief.
"I have no problems, so there is no damage or anything like that."
The collapse also caused a minor gas leak. The fire department says Sign Works and the buildings next door will be closed until inspections can determine the buildings are safe.
A fire department structural collapse team is working with engineers to figure out when the businesses can be reopened.
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