Roof of Montgomery Donuts collapses under weight of snow
Feb. 19, 2003
Noelle Barton and C. Benjamin Ford
Staff Writer

Henrik G. de Gyor/The Gazette

Yellow caution tape cordons off Montgomery Donuts in Rockville Tuesday morning. Despite the roof collapse, no one was injured.

The roof at the Montgomery Donuts shop off Gude Drive in Rockville collapsed Tuesday morning when more than 70 feet of the building's 100-foot-long roof buckled under the weight of snow, county fire officials said.

The owner of Montgomery Bakers Inc. told fire officials that the roof had been leaking for a couple of days, said Lt. Oscar Garcia, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesman.

"Listen to your structure," Garcia said Tuesday morning, warning residents to pay attention to leaks, creaks and any other hint of a weak roof.

Fire officials responded just before 7 a.m. to the store on Derwood Circle, and shut off the gas, electricity and water to secure the store. A building and code inspector declared the building unsafe to occupy, and officials cordoned off the store with tape, Garcia said.

Sheldon S. Fischer, an owner of Montgomery Donuts Inc., said he expects the company will be closed for at least four months.

The 57-year-old business was purchased by Fischer and his partners in June 2001 after the previous owners filed for bankruptcy in 1999.

Montgomery Donuts employed more than 90 workers. Fischer said he will let them know when the company is able to reopen, but he said he does not believe his insurance will cover their salaries while the business is down.

"That's the real disaster," Fischer said. "We have over 90 dedicated employees, hard workers, that are the true victims of this tragedy."

Garcia said county fire officials are recommending that people do not go onto their roofs to clear snow, as the added body weight may be enough to collapse a roof. But people may clear downspouts, and snow around the bottom of the house so when snow starts to melt off the roof it has a place to fall.