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Engineer identifies cause of supermarket canopy collapse

Updated October 14, 2021 - 7:30 pm

An engineer has concluded that a windstorm caused a canopy collapse in August at an east Las Vegas grocery store, according to Clark County records.

The front of a mansard at La Bonita supermarket, 2500 E. Desert Inn Road, tumbled to the ground at about 6:20 a.m. on Aug. 13. Four people suffered minor injuries in the collapse, which left a huge pile of wood and rubble in the store parking lot near Eastern Avenue.

Clark County immediately ordered the supermarket closed and required the property’s owners to hire an engineer to identify the cause. The engineer also was asked to assess the safety of the remaining structure before La Bonita could reopen.

In a Sept. 30 letter to the county’s Building and Fire Prevention Department, engineer Bradley Severson of Kimley-Horn and Associates wrote on behalf of Kimco Realty.

“On Aug. 13, 2021 a windstorm swept through Las Vegas and caused damage to the La Bonita’s grocery store. … The front canopy was completely ripped off the front of the building due to storm winds,” Severson wrote.

The letter does not elaborate on why the firm believes a windstorm was to blame.

Morgan Stessman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, said measured maximum wind gusts on Aug. 13 did not exceed 25 mph in the Las Vegas Valley. However, the day prior, maximum gusts in the valley ranged from 35 to 45 mph, Stessman said.

Severson declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday. Kimco Realty, which, through an affiliate, manages the shopping complex housing La Bonita, also declined to comment on the cause of the collapse.

“We do plan to rebuild, and we are happy to share more about timing once plans are solidified,” Kimco spokeswoman Jennifer Maisch wrote in a text message Thursday to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling said in an email that the county did not investigate the cause of the collapse.

“In the event we question the result of a submitted report, we can request a peer review from a consultant selected by the County,” Welling wrote.

She added that “the Building Department can neither confirm nor deny the cause, yet takes no exception to what was stated in the letter.”

La Bonita General Manager Armando Martinez also said some windy days led up to the awning collapse.

“We want to reopen the store,” Martinez said. “We want to get back in there. It is a busy store for us, and we love the community.”

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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