Josh Hartle, 29, the general contractor for the project representing the company Crescent River, was reached in-person for a comment. Hartle explained his initial reaction to the news of the collapse and his first look at the caved-in roof.
“I was just shocked,” Hartle said. “I’ve never had this before, ever. Never had an accident like this on a job… I have a general idea of what happened, but I’m going to keep that to myself, if that’s okay?”
Accompanied by his father, Ron Hartle, a man with more than 40 years of experience in construction, Ron said he’s seen nothing like this before. For the safety of the employees building the retaining wall that will be constructed around the perimeter of the Dollar General and for those working on the building itself, the Hartles plan to lay out caution tape and stakes to prevent anyone from harm, as the building appears as if it’s going to fall over in the next day or two.
Hartle wants to wait on engineers and insurance officials to make the determination of the cause of the failure. They will be assessing the damages and investigating Friday.
“The next step is to wait for evaluations from engineers to determine where the fail was and how to fix it, and then to clean up the mess and move forward,” Hartle said.
Washington County Code Enforcement Officer Patrick Freeborn spoke briefly on what he thinks happened, mentioning that all of the trusses met code requirements.
“I think it’s a freak little accident,” Freeborn said. “I can tell you right now, this building is not the same one as Granville.”
The major difference is the wooden build for the structure going away from the typical “ugly” steel-build. Hartle said it was a “better bang for your buck” and a more aesthetically pleasing decision by the company, and “actually more structurally sound.”
Hartle said the Hartford and Copenhagen locations being constructed at the same time are both of his first projects with the wood-style Dollar General.
“I’ve done many other wood structures before,” Hartle said. “Both my jobs, same day. I don’t know if it’s building in the winter or what, but yeah, same manufacturers and same building. One of them (Copenhagen) happened, they were erecting yesterday, so they only had about 10 of them (trusses) up on the other job and a couple of them started failing and breaking, and this job obviously has been erected for days. It just happened yesterday, they called me I was shocked when they said 10 trusses had broken and then next thing I know four hours later I’m laying in bed, I get a phone call and this happens, and I’m like ‘oh my god, what is going on here?’”
Town Supervisor Dana Haff although concerned, made it clear he wants this project to bring economic sustenance and growth to Hartford.
“We really want this project to happen in Hartford,” Haff said.
Hartle made it clear that he and his crew will not give up on building the Dollar General in Hartford, even with a likely month to month-and-a-half delay due to the collapse.
“We’re here,” Hartle said.
The roof of the soon-to-be Dollar General store at 123 Rowe Hill Road in Hartford collapsed Wednesday night.
Shannon Jackson, one of the sub-contractors for Josh Hartle, the contractor supervisor for the region and for Seville, the company that owns the property, stated he could not disclose any additional information until Hartle and engineers have conducted an investigation on the cause of the collapse.
“My boss (Hartle) wants me to let you know that we are investigating, and until we complete our investigation, we’d rather not say anything until we know for sure,” Jackson said. “We’ll definitely be a little bit more forthcoming once we find out what’s going on. We really don’t know.”
All employees were advised by Hartle and engineers not to touch anything so they can figure out what exactly happened.
Jackson said he and his coworkers were informed last night by State Police that the neighbor across the street heard a loud noise at the construction site at nighttime, and that they saw the damage Thursday morning around 6 a.m.
“It’s an economic shame,” Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff said. Haff mentioned that Hartle said to Haff a roof collapsed the other day in another location with the trusses coming from the same manufacturer.
“Yesterday, they also had a roof with men standing on it that fell,” Haff said. “Well, he (Hartle) told me that in Copenhagen that the trusses were on the ground, and he’s told them (workers) ‘do not put them on the roof’ because they all came from the same manufacturer.”
For about a month, construction has taken place on the land across the road from Hartford Central School, with Haff saying most Hartford residents are “excited” for the opening of a Dollar General in the area. The completion date was pushed back and forth with progress speeding and slowing down sporadically, but it was last thought to have been finished with a goal of late January.
“I am extremely glad nobody got hurt,” Jackson said.
Stay tuned for further updates on the situation.