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Snohomish Fire District 4 investigates roof issue
SNOHOMISH - Fire District 4 intends to file an insurance claim on the roof collapse at the Maple Avenue fire station that temporarily closed the station, but it is unclear if the district would get any money back.
The cost to repair the structural supports in the attic and on the roof totaled $69,000. Loomis Construction of Snohomish, and Coughlin, Peter and Lundeen Engineers of Seattle were contracted to design and conduct repairs to meet current building codes and to stop the failure of the structure.
The station reopened in late January.
Fire Chief Ron Simmons presented what the department will do next at last week’s fire board meeting.
On Oct. 30 of last year, it was discovered during routine maintenance that the roof and structural support of Station 41 were on the brink of collapse and in dire need of repair. The station was then immediately closed and posted by the City of Snohomish as unsafe to occupy. Scheduled crews and emergency vehicles were moved to the headquarters station at 1525 Avenue D for the duration of the repair work.
Structural engineers determined that the original trusses were not designed to support the weight of the building structure considering their unsupported length over the top of the fire trucks.
Who built the trusses has perplexed Simmons and his colleagues.
“When we investigated the records, we found no records of who built or inspected the trusses,” Simmons said. “We can’t even find a record of an engineer or manufacturer, so basically we were kind of at a loss as to how we got here.”
The original contractor who built the station 20 years ago went out of business several years ago, Simmons said. Therefore, there really isn’t anyone who can actually take responsibility for the structure’s failure. It’s a non-issue, he said.
“The building itself is 20 years old and as for the insurance company, it’s a cut-and-dry thing,” Simmons said. “If the building would have fallen down completely, like we were told it would have had we not caught the problem like we did, our insurance company would have paid for it.”
But, since they did catch the issue before the building collapsed and made efforts to repair it, filing a claim and if it will be accepted remains to be seen. Simmons said he is putting a report together to submit to the fire district’s insurance company in an attempt to recover some of the cost.
Simmons told commissioners the repair project was a success and problems like this should not happen again. The project also finished in a favorable frame of time.
“I’m really happy with the time frame and the results,” Commissioner Jim Schmoker said.

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