MOORHEAD — St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church was working Monday, March 11, to confront the aftermath of a major roof collapse over the weekend.
The church at 601 15th Ave. N. is quickly trying to cover a gaping hole created by the collapse and protect what remains of the church before a wintry mix of snow and rain hits the area possibly Wednesday and Thursday.
Comstock Construction of Fargo planned to begin working to enclose the exposed area Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning at the latest, according to Matt Gourde, a project manager and estimator with Comstock.
The roof over the church's social hall collapsed at about noon Sunday after a storm brought about 9 inches of heavy wet snow to Fargo-Moorhead. Sunday services had been canceled due to the weather, and no one was hurt in the collapse.
Cub Scout Pack 633 had planned a French toast breakfast at the church from 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Sunday. That event was also canceled. "We would call that God's providence," said Janelle Gergen, a spokeswoman for the Crookston Diocese.
The church has suspended all Masses and activities until further notice. The church pastor, Father Raul Perez-Cobo, was not available to comment on the situation Monday, but Bishop Michael Hoeppner issued a statement.
"We are sad to hear that the roof of St. Francis de Sales beautiful hall succumbed to the snow, but we are grateful to God that no one was hurt,” the bishop said. “The faithful of St. Francis form a wonderful parish community and I know they are eager already to rebuild what was lost.”
Volunteers worked Monday to remove snow from parts of the roof that did not collapse.
The office and church portions of the building, which was completed in 1996, appeared undamaged but were being inspected for safety, according to Our Northland Diocese, the diocese newspaper.
In a preliminary determination, fire officials found that the cause of the collapse was the snow load on the roof, but structural engineers are expected to look into whether there were any other contributing factors, Moorhead Assistant Fire Chief Benton Hicks said.
Along with the church, three businesses in the Fargo-Moorhead area reported roof collapses on Sunday. No one was injured.