Fred Meyer stores in Bountiful and Taylorsville were temporarily closed, and stores from Logan to Spanish Fork and in Idaho were inspected Tuesday and Wednesday to avoid another winter-related accident.
Company officials are looking for a possible "link" to other incidents of roof failure during the past 7-10 years in buildings now leased by Fred Meyer Inc.Monday's roof collapse in a Salt Lake store, they say, is a repeat performance.
It was about 11 a.m. when a 175-by-75-foot section of the flat roof over Fred Meyer's store at 3215 S. 33rd East collapsed under the weight of nearly 2 feet of snow. The roof "opened like a zipper" while store employees, construction workers and engineers looked on.
Company officials Wednesday pursued their investigation into roofing problems that plagued some of the company's other stores when they were occupied by Grand Central Inc.
Before Grand Central was acquired and merged into Fred Meyer in 1984, there were several other incidents of roofing problems - one at the Grand Central store on 12th and Wall St. in Ogden in 1983, the others in stores in Idaho Falls and Pocatello.
Similarly, there were no injuries in the previous mishaps.
"But there's a track record that has to be looked into," said one company official. "They are noticing something."
However, the official emphasized that they are not pointing fingers at any particular building contractor.
Most of the newest Grand Central - now Fred Meyer - stores were built by either John Price Construction Co. or H. Roger Boyer Co. and leased by Grand Central.
Boyer said Tuesday that no structural problems have occurred with any of the stores built by his company.
The Fred Meyer store on 33rd South in Salt Lake City was built by John Price Construction Co. Company officials, however, did not return phone calls to the Deseret News.
Company spokesman Fran Kleemeyer said only the store building at Ninth South and State Street is owned by Fred Meyer. The other buildings are leased from various management groups and owners include Price Management Co.
Salt Lake County fire officials were contacted about 4:40 a.m. Monday by a maintenance worker at the 33rd South store concerned because of a 6-by-15-foot bulge in the ceiling.
Lt. Ted Burke responded and found cracked support trusses in the roof and recommended that the store remain closed. The store was not opened and no one was injured.
To avoid similar catastrophes, company maintenance employees and structural engineers hustled to inspect the company's other 22 stores in Utah and Idaho.
Kleemeyer said the Bountiful and Taylorsville stores were closed for a short time Tuesday "as a precautionary measure while the structures were checked."
Employees and customers were evacuated from the Bountiful store after the manager thought he saw the ceiling sag.
"If there were any questions on any of the stores, they were evaluated - the structural beams were checked," Kleemeyer said. "We wanted to make sure the roofs are not overloaded or snow has drifted there."
No problems were identified; the stores were deemed safe for business.
"We have taken all the precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the employees and the customers," said Kleemeyer.
Clean-up efforts continued Wednesday at the 33rd South store, but officials couldn't predict when the store would be opened for business.