Palmer Library suffers roof collapse

Deputy mayor says no one was hurt in the incident
No one hurt in Palmer Library roof collapse
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 6:58 PM AKST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2023 at 10:42 AM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Part of the roof of the Palmer Library collapsed Wednesday night.

The collapse is believed to have occurred near the library’s closing time. Palmer Deputy Mayor Pamela Melin said in a Facebook post that no one had been injured in the roof collapse.

“Everyone is now safe and accounted for,” Melin wrote. “Significant structural and water damage.”

Palmer City Manager John Moosey said that the partial roof collapse occurred shortly after 5:35 p.m. on Wednesday. Moosey said that Palmer Public Works, Palmer Fire and Rescue and Mat-Su Borough emergency crews responded.

Palmer Fire and Rescue Chief Chad Cameron told an Alaska’s News Source reporter in Palmer that everyone inside the library self-evacuated, including a family of four and three staff members. Cameron said that the library’s occupants were examined by Matanuska-Susitna Borough EMS and did not suffer any injuries.

The building is nearing 40 years old, according to Cameron, who said that the library was built in 1985.

“We were able to start looking at the building, worried about further collapse and we still are worried about further collapse,” Cameron said.

The fire department said it tentatively believes the roof collapsed due to the unusually large amount of snowfall this winter.

“There was a few inches of water on the floor. We had a water line break,” Moosey said. “We don’t know how much damage but the water is through the whole library and that was the kid’s section. So once we can secure that and get in there and do an assessment, we will. It’s kind of early, but it’s significant.”

Palmer Fire and Rescue firefighters assess the collapse of the Palmer Library roof Wednesday...
Palmer Fire and Rescue firefighters assess the collapse of the Palmer Library roof Wednesday night.(Stefan Hinman)

Palmer Mayor Steve Carrington warned residents to stay away from the library at this point while the Matanuska-Susitna Borough is considering its next steps while the library is out of service.

“We know there’s a lot of concern — we just had a local rabbi come up and ask what was happening but we encourage people to stay tuned. We’ll be trying to get information out through the websites and the news channels of what’s happening,” Carrington said.

Carrington says a structural engineer will be out to check on the building on Thursday.

Emergency crews remained on the scene late into Wednesday night.

This story has been updated with additional information.