SOMERVILLE, Mass. — “The rain came down hard at that particular time and I’m standing by the doorway,” said John Fragione, owner of A+ Autobody on Medford Street in Somerville.
Fragione was standing right by the garage door as the entire roof of his auto body shop collapsed during the downpours Tuesday.
“Body count, I needed to know where my guys were, and I saw them all so I was good,” Fragione said when asked what his first thought was.
Fragione teared up after realizing how much worse it could have been. He said they store cars in the part of the building where the roof collapsed, but his workers do the repairs on the other side, where everyone was safe.
His co-owner, Augustino Feola, was on his way there to work on his boat, which is also stored in the garage.
“I kind of stalled because I had things to do for an hour, thank God I stalled because I would have probably been in there when the roof collapsed,” Feola said.
Fire crews said the storm could have been a factor in this collapse.
“I’m sure the blocked drain and some water weighed on the roof certainly helped contribute to that, but I don’t think that’s the only cause,” said Deputy Chief Sean Tierney with Somerville Fire.
The owners also believe the construction for the Green Line on the backside of their building could have been a cause. plus the building is 100 years old.
“It was a wooden beam, it was all at once, heard a big rumbling coming down like you’d see a side of a mountain come down. It just came down all at once,” Fragione said.
Now several cars in the shop are crushed by the debris as the rain continued to pour through the open roof into the night.
“I own like two or three of those cars, but the ones up front here, those are customer cars, they ain’t gonna be happy,” Feola said.
The owners said whatever damage happened to the cars inside can always be fixed. They’re just so thankful no one was hurt.
Fire crews said that whole portion of the building will likely be torn down and they’re still assessing what portion they can possibly save.
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