Part of Bernhardt's roof to be replaced; hardware should reopen in a few days

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
The owner of Bernhardt’s Hardware Co. said he hopes to have the store reopened within a few days after part of the building’s roof collapsed during heavy rains earlier this week.
The store has been closed since late Tuesday.
“I think that in a day or two, we’ll be running wide open,” Paul Bernhardt said Thursday afternoon.
The store, which Bernhardt said dates to the late 1800s, is at 113 N. Main St. in downtown Salisbury. He said a hole in the roof developed Tuesday afternoon after about 2 inches of rain fell.
Electricity to the building was cut and firefighters used yellow tape to keep pedestrians and motorists from the structure.
Early Wednesday, between 6 and 8 inches of rain fell as the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay moved across Rowan County. That rain created more problems inside the store.
Bernhardt said Thursday that three insurance examiners have inspected the building and all agree the structure is basically sound.
Firefighters worried aloud Tuesday that a back corner of the building might be in danger of collapse, but Bernhardt said those fears were unfounded.
“There’s no damage other than the roof falling,” he said.
Bernhardt said about 40 feet of the roof will be replaced, with some beams for the project being specially made in Lexington.
He said he’s working with building inspectors and the fire marshal’s office to see if electricity to the area near the damage can remain off while it’s turned back on in the rest of the building so the business can reopen.
Bernhardt said a roofing contractor was working Thursday to repair the damage. He said store employees were also working to clean up the damage caused by the roof’s collapse and the heavy rains.
“We had every kind of tub and bucket in the place used to catch water,” Bernhardt said.
Randy Hemann, executive director of Downtown Salisbury Inc., said he’d heard of no particular problems caused to older buildings as a result of this week’s storms, though he also admitted, “Anytime you get 8 inches of rain, you’re likely to get more leakage than usual.”