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Patrons, owner react after roof collapse at Bangor bowling alley

BANGOR, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The heavy snowfall this winter season has claimed another building, this one in Van Buren County.

The roof at Lariat Lanes in Bangor collapsed overnight, not long after the bowling alley closed for the night.

The front of the building was virtually untouched, but other portions of the building are completely destroyed. When the roof caved in, it sent debris flying.

The building was packed with people on Thursday night, and those that spoke to Newschannel 3 say they are just grateful that no one was around when it happened.

"I got a sick feeling in my stomach to think that we were just here, we left here at 10:30 last night. this could have happened last night while the whole house was in," said bowler Laura Spoula.

It was a full house at Lariat Lanes in Bangor Thursday night, as the bowling leagues filled all eight lanes at the small business.

"My husband when we first left, when we left he said he heard a noise but there didn't seem to be enough snow to take it down," said bowler Brenda Howe.

But sometime overnight, that's exactly what happened.

"I heard the door knock and looked out, and I saw the police and I thought, 'Oh cripe, what's happened,'" recalled owner Dick Hensley.

Hensley drove out to see for himself--the roof gave way.

"It didn't look like it was that deep," Hensley said. "I mean yes, it was there, but the problem was that with the weather that we've had the drifting, the snow apparently just packed and packed and packed and something gave."

Hensley says he's just thankful the bowling alley was empty.

"That'd be hard to live with, cause these are all friends; these are all people I knew. I spent time with and joked with and bowled with and so that would have been absolutely devastating," Hensley said.

So often, when we hear about these roofs collapsing, it happens with flat roofs, but the Lariat Lanes had a peaked roof.

Hensley says that removing the snow was such a big job that he never got up there.

As for rebuilding, he says that remains to be seen.