ATLANTA - Crews are clearing the scene of a Castleberry Hill restaurant where a roof collapsed Monday night, sending four people to the hospital.
"Wood, sheeting, all the stuff that was in the ceiling, some lighting material that was inside the building at the time, all the material came down into the restaurant and blocked the entrance of the restaurant,” said Sgt. Cortez Stafford with the Atlanta Fire Department.
Sgt. Stafford told FOX 5 News the roof of the Blu Cantina, located at 257 Peters Street, collapsed around 8:40 p.m. Monday. Six people were injured, but only four were taken to a nearby hospital, including one man who may have suffered a head injury.
Officials are investigating if weather played a role in the collapse.
“And it could have been a lot more severe than it was if more people were standing directly under where the roof collapsed,” said Sgt. Stafford.
Sgt. Stafford said about 30 to 35 people were inside the building when about 40 percent of the roof located in the front half of the structure came down.
"Most of those people were out of the restaurant by the time of our arrival," said Stafford said adding there were only one or two stragglers.
“There were a lot of people standing outside that were accumulated around the restaurant at the time. We had to move those people back because we were not sure if there was going to be a further collapse of the building, of the roof,” said Sgt. Stafford.
City building inspectors were called in to assess the building. The cause of the collapse was not immediately known. Investigators want to know if heavy rains weakened the roof. FOX 5 Storm Team Chief Meteorologist David Chandley said there were storms which prompted several reports of streets having minor flooding.
“We are thinking that possibly had something to do with the roof collapse,” said Sgt. Stafford. “Sometimes flat roofs accumulate a good [amount] water if there's not enough drainage, or if there's a heavy amount of water and that just accumulates and the drainage can't handle it.”
Tuesday, the establishment released the following statement:
“We will be closed until further notice.
“The safety of our patrons and staff is our first and foremost priority. At the time this event took place we immediately contacted local emergency response officials. With support from City of Atlanta Fire Rescue and Police Department, all patrons and staff were evacuated. Those injured were assisted or transported for treatment. We are currently working closely with our property owner to identify the source of the collapse.
“For more than four years we have proudly served as Castleberry Hill’s ultimate casual dining destination, for Atlantans and tourists alike. While this type of incident is rare, we are committed to establishing a safe and enjoyable environment for our customers and staff.”
Peters Street was shut down between Fair and Walker streets for about two hours while workers assessed the structure. Power to the building was also cut as a precaution.