WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield Director of Public Works Greg O’Neil was on the scene Saturday afternoon after firefighters responded to an alarm at Trader Joe’s and discovered that part of the roof had collapsed and the walls began to bow and crack.
“It’s in bad shape. It looks like the building’s probably going to have to be razed,” O’Neil said.
According to an announcment by Mayor Andy Skibitsky Saturday, the building experienced “a major roof collapse apparently due to the structural stress of the heavy winds and the weight of the snow.”
Workers were able to shut off the electricity and the water, O'Neil said. People had to move away from the building out of concern that it could collapse further.
The area around the store at Prospect Street and Elm Street downtown will likely remain closed for some time as the full extent of the damage to the building is determined and the cleanup of external debris is completed, Skibitsky announced Saturday.
The store was closed for the storm and it did not appear that anyone was injured, sources said. First responders and workers faced difficult conditions during Westfield’s blizzard.
Fans of the specialty grocery store are using Facebook to encourage people to go to the Trader Joe’s website and request that the company remain in town.
Trader Joe’s is located at 155 Elm Street.