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St. Petersburg clinic evacuated after roof collapses

Workers remove debris from the scene of a roof collapse Thursday morning at a Quest Diagnostics clinic at 2299 Ninth Ave. N in St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
Workers remove debris from the scene of a roof collapse Thursday morning at a Quest Diagnostics clinic at 2299 Ninth Ave. N in St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Published May 28, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Workers were removing debris from the scene of an apparent roof collapse late Thursday morning at a Quest Diagnostics clinic at 2299 Ninth Avenue N, near Edward White Hospital.

The collapse led to an evacuation and closed three offices.

Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Lawrence said the roof partially collapsed around 8:40 a.m. He said between 20 and 30 patients were evacuated and transferred elsewhere.

No one was injured, Lawrence said. The building was closed until further notice.

"At this time, we're going to shut it down," he said. "The city is condemning it."

The cause of the collapse is being investigated, he said, but tenants started noticing issues earlier this week.

On Wednesday, an office tenant told the building owner the roof was sagging. A construction company blocked off part of the parking lot with plans to return Thursday and examine the roof, "not realizing the severity" of the situation, Lawrence said.

"Unfortunately, it collapsed before they totally addressed it," he said.

Nieka Hanley, 21, rode two buses to get to Quest Diagnostics for a glucose test. When she arrived late Thursday morning, she found caution tape blocking off the entrance.

Hanley, who is eight months pregnant, stood outside the building and wondered why no one alerted future patients about the collapse.

"I guess I'll just find another one," she said. "This sucks."

Contact Ayana Stewart at astewart@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913.