Fayette County

Roof of business collapses during Lexington storm

A family-owned electronics business near downtown Lexington was badly damaged when its roof collapsed during heavy rain Wednesday morning.

Radio Electronic Equipment Co., 480 Skain Avenue, has been in business since 1962, owner Jackie Pike said. Pike has run the business for about 20 years.

Lexington fire department Battalion Chief Marshall Griggs said standing water on the flat roof likely caused the collapse. The building had drains installed, but it was unclear whether they were blocked by debris or if the rainfall was just too heavy.

About 1.5 inches of rain fell in Lexington from midnight to 10 a.m., according to the National Weather Service in Louisville, much of that during rush hour.

At 11 a.m., about an hour after storm clouds passed and skies were blue, water still flowed out of the building. The water was from the storm and from a damaged sprinkler system, Griggs said.

It was unclear what time the roof collapsed, but neighbor Zohn Centimole said he noticed daylight through windows on the second floor of the building about 8:30 a.m. Police officers were initially dispatched for a burglar alarm, Griggs said, but when they arrived they found that the collapse had set off the alarm. Firefighters arrived at 9 a.m.

Griggs said code enforcement and fire officials had noticed some bowing in the exterior walls of the building, which could indicate further collapse.

Caution tape blocked off a possible fall zone on Skain Avenue, and neighbors on nearby Forest Avenue were warned.

The building is home to both a storefront and a warehouse. Damage appeared to be mostly confined to the storefront portion, but Pike said there was no way to tell how much of his stock was ruined until building inspectors allowed him to enter.

Radio Electronic Equipment Co. sells semiconductors, switches, wires and other electrical components.

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