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Wind-Damaged Church Steeple Raises Safety Concerns


Preparing for Mother Nature can be a tough task for any maintenance or engineering manager. Commercial and institutional facilities are always at risk when it comes to potential storm damage, specifically roofs.

Right now barricades are up around a Detroit church, to make sure no one gets hurt should parts of the steeple fall.

The concerns grew on as wind gusts of about 30 miles per hour hit the Fort Street Presbyterian Church Steeple. People could see the cross at the top moving. They called police, who put up the barricades, according to a story from ABC Detroit.

This problem started back in March of 2017 when a wind storm tore through Detroit. Wind pounded the steeple on the historic church at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.

Shingles flew off. Decking was damaged. Stone finials attached with mortar flew off the building and landed three blocks away. The steeple suddenly started leaning.

The church filed an insurance claim.

“That claim came through. Unfortunately it was only a third of what the damage was,” said Derek Sale, a member of the Fort Street Presbyterian Church.

That is why the steeple still hasn’t been fixed. The church found a local business willing to do a temporary fix, but the work has to be done when it isn’t windy. That has delayed work. If weather allows - work will start soon.

This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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