1 Injured in Partial Roof Collapse at San Jose Safeway

Hours of non-stop rain overwhelmed the roof of an East San Jose Safeway, causing part of the roof to collapse late Thursday afternoon.

One person inside the grocery store's produce section suffered minor leg injuries during the partial roof collapse, firefighters on the scene said. The collapse exposed a 50-square-foot portion of the store.

Fire officials also said employees were able to get everyone out of the building before the large section of roof collapsed shortly before 4 p.m.

When they first arrived, San Jose Fire Department crews immediately started searching for potential victims of the partial roof collapse at the store in the Silver Creek Plaza shopping center, 1771 E. Capitol Expressway, fire Capt. Christopher Salcido said.

The search found that no one was still inside.

Employees told fire officials they had heard creaking noises in the building and warned customers to get out of the building. The roof caved in a short time later.

Power and gas to the building were shut off and neighboring businesses were evacuated while firefighters secured the area.

Firefighters preliminarily blamed the collapse on a combination of the rain and the building's age, but they said further assessment would be required, a task initially made difficult by the possibility of further collapse. Inspectors returned Friday and "red tagged" the building, deeming it officially uninhabitable. They said the cause remained under investigation.

A second hole opened up in the roof sometime after the first one appeared. Leading up to the initial collapse, about 2.5 inches of rain had fallen over the course of a few hours in East San Jose, according to NBC Bay Area meteorologists.

Fire officials said there are two walls separating the Safeway from its neighbors, so if the store’s walls are damaged, it doesn’t necessarily mean other businesses will have to rebuild as well.

NBC Bay Area's Scott Budman and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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