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Investigators working to determine cause of building collapse as roads remain closed

LAVA HOT SPRINGS — The now collapsed Blue Moon Bar & Grill in Lava Hot Springs has been released to the property owner and insurance investigators. In addition, Search and Rescue teams are no longer involved in the investigation.
The bar’s roof completely caved in on Wednesday afternoon, with authorities being called to the scene around 3:45 p.m. by a person who was trapped inside. Emergency responders arrived and rescued two people who were trapped, with ambulance services transporting one woman to Portneuf Medical Center with minor injuries.
After searching the area, authorities found there were no other people trapped in the collapsed building.
In the immediate aftermath, authorities closed Elm Street and 1st Avenue East due to debris in the street, and the area still remains closed until further notice. A fence has been erected around the perimeter of the property with directional signs placed to direct traffic and deputies are patrolling the area.
RELATED | Roads closed after building collapse in Lava Hot Springs
Residents of the apartments adjacent to the building had to be evacuated. The two occupants have a place to stay in the meantime.
Insurance investigators haven’t yet been able to go to the property and assess the damage along with engineers to investigate the cause of the collapse, according to a Bannock County news release.
The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, but Sheriff Tony Manu suspects it was due to heavy snow on the roof. The engineers who investigate the scene will inspect the property and officially determine the cause.

Photo by Logan Ramsey
Authorities have pointed out how lucky it was that this collapse didn’t happen on a weekend night when the bar would be more crowded with patrons.
The Blue Moon Bar & Grill was a historic building in Lava Hot Springs, its age stretching back to sometime around the late 1930s. It’s still unclear when the last time was that the roof of the building underwent maintenance or had any updates made to it.
Chase Clark, the Building Official for Bannock County, explained that building owners are subject to state code for building requirements, with local jurisdictions responsible for enforcing that code. As it exists, state code makes no requirements for how old a building can be before it needs to make structural repairs.
Clark said that the International Code Council has a property maintenance code that regulates the minimum maintenance requirement for buildings, but no one in Idaho has adopted that code to his knowledge.
“As a City, we’ve assessed buildings for emergency access and egress and set occupancy limits for assembly groups, as defined in the State and City adopted International Building Code,” said Hudson Saffell, City Officer with Lava Hot Springs. “I am grateful that no one was killed in this collapse and that everyone inside was able to get out without major injury.”
Saffell also said the snow load requirements for buildings in Lava Hot Springs, which are the same as the county, are set to 50 lbs. per square foot.
Insurance Investigators are expected to assess the property sometime Friday.
The post Investigators working to determine cause of building collapse as roads remain closed appeared first on East Idaho News.

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