You’re sitting in a restaurant, enjoying your house salad and some light conversation with the family. When suddenly, a loud noise, the sound of screams, and you fall to the floor, covered with what used to be the restaurant’s roof. Roof collapse scenarios are rare, but can happen, as the diners at an Atlanta restaurant discovered in mid-July.
At the Blu Cantina, a restaurant in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood in southwest Atlanta, the falling wood, sheetrock and light fixtures from the collapse hurt six people. Five of them were minor injuries, but one victim suffered a potential traumatic brain injury.
Nearly half of the roof of the restaurant collapsed. Fire officials believe that the cause of the collapse may have been water on the rooftop due to storms that rolled through the city earlier in the day. Flat roofs without adequate drainage can accumulate a good amount of water, causing a potentially dangerous situation.
Are Restaurants Liable for Roof Collapses?
Restaurant owners have a duty of care to patrons to identify potential hazards and to remedy them in a reasonably timely manner. This can include ensuring that roofs are able to handle heavy rainstorms or snowfall. Owners should have roofers periodically inspect the condition of rooftops before rainy or winter seasons to ensure they are free of leaves and debris. Inspectors should also evaluate roof drains, gutters and downspouts to ensure that rooftops can adequately handle a heavy downpour or snow.