Roof blown away in high winds

By David Matz

No one was reported injured when the roof covering was blown off a residential apartment building at 916 Greenbrier Road Wednesday evening.

“It appears the high winds took a toll on the roof coating,” said Jim Zarek, DeKalb Fire Department Battalion Chief. “There’s a concrete base to the flat level roof and the coating on the top of the base blew off and wrapped around a power line.”

About 80 percent of the roof coating was blown off so there’s still a potential for the rest to come off, Zarek said.

The DeKalb Fire Department was waiting for ComEd to arrive and turn off the power late Wednesday. After the power is turned off, a roofing contractor can come remove the rest of the roof and begin repairs.

Approximately 20 people live in the building and all will face possible displacement, Zarek said. He also added that most of the residents are NIU students and the university may help them find a place to stay.

“I don’t know what’s going on but…we can’t stay here tonight,” said Adrian Mascote, a resident of the building and NIU student. “I just came home and there was no roof.”

He said he didn’t know what he’s going to do for the night just yet.

In similar cases hotel rooms in the Holmes Student Center have been used to house students.

“There has been situations in the past where we’ve offered housing, especially in a situation like that, but we have not been contacted as of yet regarding the situation,” said Cindy Meeks, Holmes Student Center hotel manager.

Meeks said guest rooms are always open to students in similar situations, but payment would be needed unless NIU notified management that it was picking up the tab.

NIU Meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste said Tuesday’s wind speed should not have caused the roof of the apartment to blow off.

“The strongest winds were earlier [Wednesday] and were at 47 mph,” Sebenste said. “It normally would take at least 60 mph winds to do such damage.”

Staff writers John Bachmann and Shadonna Merriweather contributed to this article.