The Tatsuda’s IGA building in Ketchikan, Alaska was condemned Feb. 27, 2020 after it was struck early Thursday morning by a rockslide. The main portion of the slide hit the northeast corner of the building which collapsed part of the roof and ruptured a water main causing extensive damage to both the interior and exterior. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

The Tatsuda’s IGA building in Ketchikan, Alaska was condemned Feb. 27, 2020 after it was struck early Thursday morning by a rockslide. The main portion of the slide hit the northeast corner of the building which collapsed part of the roof and ruptured a water main causing extensive damage to both the interior and exterior. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

Landslide demolishes Ketchikan grocery store; no one injured

“Trees, rocks, overburden came down, went right in the store.”

  • Associated Press
  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 11:29pm
  • News

KETCHIKAN — A landslide in a city near the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle demolished the back side of a grocery store.

No one was injured early Thursday when the landslide took out the back wall of Tatsuda’s IGA in Ketchikan, the Ketchikan Daily News reported. The building suffered severe enough damage to be condemned.

Rock, dirt and trees knocked over shelves and pushed ceiling beams out of place. The impact ruptured the sprinkler system, affecting the entire structure, including an attached liquor store, city public works director Mark Hilson said.

“Trees, rocks, overburden came down, went right in the store,” Hilson said. “Blew out the back wall, came in through the roof, through the aisles, structurally damaged it. The impact of the rock falling, dirt falling, trees falling, blew out the insulation, the soffit, some windows.”

Behind the store, nothing is visible but rock, he said.

“It looks like a rock pile,” Hilson said. “It’s just rock piled up.”

The last employee left the store at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Emergency responders received a call about the slide just before 1 a.m. from a security company. The slide set off a fire alarm. The store owners were there when firefighters arrived, fire marshal Andrea Buchanan said.

Water and structural damage was apparent when firefighters entered the building, Buchanan said, both to load-bearing walls and the roof system.

“I saw trees that had come off like, I would say, from the top of the cliff or rock wall, had penetrated through the roof of the building,” Buchanan said.

Bill Tatsuda owns the store with his daughter, Katherine. In a social media message, Katherine Tatsuda said they were glad the slide occurred when no one was in the store. There is no timetable for reopening, her father said.

“It looks like it’s going to be an awful long time, if ever, reopening the store,” Bill Tatsuda said in an interview.


• By Associated Press


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