The awning outside of a Las Vegas supermarket collapsed Friday morning, injuring four people and sending more than a dozen running out the back door, according to authorities.
The overhang tumbled down almost 20 minutes after the store opened for the day, according to Clark County Fire Battalion Chief Steve Broadwell.
None of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, he told reporters at the scene.
La Bonita Supermarkets General Manager Armando Martinez said in a statement Friday evening that the location would remain closed until further notice.
“At this point, we don’t know the cause of the incident and are working with the proper authorities in charge of the investigation,” Martinez said.
Broadwell said things could have been worse.
“Later on in the day, it might have been a little bit different story,” he said, noting that there were few people at the store when the call came in around 6:18 a.m.
Everyone inside was evacuated out a back door, he said, but could not provide an exact number for how many people there were. Adolfo Navarrete, the store’s deli supervisor, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that more than a dozen employees escaped safely.
“I just see the windows breaking like it is an earthquake,” he told the paper. “And I look behind me and I see a bunch of debris and dust.”
Michael Martial, a vendor, told the paper three of the victims appeared to be homeless, including one who was struck in the back of the head.
Firefighters had to “extricate” one more victim from the rubble, Broadwell said.
Rescuers made sure there were no gas or electric issues, then cleared the rest of the debris to check for other possible victims, he said. Authorities then performed a secondary search and gave an all-clear.
Neither the supermarket chain nor firefighters could immediately identify the cause of the collapse, but Broadwell noted it was an old building.
County building inspectors were looking into the cause of the collapse, he said.
None of the neighboring businesses were believed to have been damaged in the incident. The strip mall was built in 1979.
Martinez, the store’s GM, said all employees would be given a paid day off and offered any medical or emotional support services they require. They will also be relocated to one of the chain’s six other locations while their home store remains closed for an investigation and repairs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.