“The front part that’s not caved in is kind of a kitchen area, office sort of thing. It was on a different roof system, so it didn’t cave in,” said Jim Miller, fire chief of Buckland Fire and Rescue. “Approximately a quarter of the arena came down.”
No one was injured in the collapse as it is suspected to have happened either late Saturday or in the early hours of the morning on Sunday.
“They said people were there at 10 p.m. last night, and they came shortly after 8 this morning,” Miller said. “And it was down and there was still a little bit of movement in the collapsed part, so I would suspect it was fairly early this morning when it came down, but who’s to know?”
Buckland Fire and Rescue set up a barricade around the perimeter to dissuade people from entering the building.
“The barn part on the side is still pretty intact, but … there are sidewall thrusts that can take something else out,” Miller said. “We’re a little bit concerned about that, so we helped secure the building and make sure things were locked up.”
John Beaulac, Board president of the Red River Roping and Riding Club, suspects the roof collapsed because of an accumulation of snow.
The Timberland Bowbenders Archery Club had been utilizing the space on Saturday.
“Thank God it didn’t collapse at that time,” Beaulac said. “It was down this morning when our staff showed up there at 7. The girls said this morning that they could hear some creaking and groaning still, so I’m guessing that it was more toward the morning that it collapsed.”
There were 20 horses in box stalls inside the structure, though none were injured.
“The stables that are connected to the barn, there’s a support wall beside, so all of the horses were safe,” Beaulac said.
The horses were either relocated on the premises or picked up by their owners.
“Some of them will stay there, but (remain) outside for the time being,” Beaulac said.
With a number of clubs and activities running out of the building, Beaulac said the collapse is a big blow, with all activities being halted for the near future.
“We’ll find out whether it can be repaired or it needs to be demolished,” he said. “It’s considerable damage … We’re not sure of how safe the remainder of the building is, so until we get an idea on how safe the rest of it is, we’ll just have to keep everybody away from the site.”
Beaulac noted that a new roof had just been installed.
“In the last two years, we’ve probably put about $200,000 into repairs for that building,” he said. “It has a very small membership. It’s a co-op -- a non-profit -- so it’s a really tough hit.”