Business Comes to a Crashing Close

100-foot awning collapses, trapping people inside

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    A 100-foot awning fell off a Golden Hill building trapping people inside.

    Stores that were closed by an awning collapse reopened to customers Wednesday morning. The 100-foot long awning fell to the curb Tuesday afternoon trapping close to a dozen people inside several businesses.

    "All of a sudden, you heard a scraping sound," which Michael Galamo says was followed by a huge crash.  "We looked out and the whole roof was down."

    Galamo was waiting to get a haircut at a business in the 2600 block of Market Street around 4:30 pm.

    One woman described it as feeling like an earthquake. The huge chunk of concrete and brick blocked several businesses trapping that woman and ten other people inside a handful of businesses, none of which had a back exit door according to firefighters.

    Business Comes to a Crashing Close

    [DGO] Business Comes to a Crashing Close
    A 100-foot awning fell off a Golden Hill building trapping people inside.

    Market owner Maria Hernandez opened her market on schedule Wednesday morning - despite the large distraction in the parking lot forcing her to use a different door.

    "If you close one day it's really gonna hurt your pocket," Hernandez said.

    San Diego Fire Fighters used saws to cut through the overhang and get people out of the businesses.

    "We're very fortunate that no one was under the overhang when it fell down." said Hicks who added that no one was hurt.

    Fire spokesman Maurice Luque said the cause of the collapse is still undetermined.  He said the collapse did not compromise the structural stability of the building.  The building is not red tagged. 

    Business owners said they think they know what happened. "You know from the rain, it got heavy, got too wet," said Hernandez. "It wasn't supported enough to hold so much water coming through."

    After firefighters left the scene, the cleanup continued into the night.  The building's owner, Jerry Harris said the building is 20 years old.  Harris said he's not sure the cost of the damage at this point, but will call his insurance company tomorrow.

    "We're very happy no one was hurt," said Harris, "All this can be repaired, but if someone had been hurt, that would have been a real tragedy."