Rachel Shelly/Times Record photoCrews work to repair sections of roof ripped from the Maine Maritime Museum by high winds Thursday.

BATH

Wind gusts of up to 63 mph sheared the copper roof from Maine Maritime Museum’s main building Thursday morning as administrative staff arrived to begin their work day.

The museum opens at 9:30 a.m. for visitors. The only people in the building at the time were administrative staff, who begin arriving at 8 a.m.

“We think it happened around 8 this morning,” Director of Development and External Affairs Janice Kauer said. “One of our people was inside and could hear something rumbling. Another staff member had gone out to the parking lot and was on her way back inside and watched the roof come off. She ran out of harm’s way.”

Museum staff immediately took steps to minimize potential damage as rain threatened electical circuitry and the museum’s computer servers.

“Some of our artifacts are on the third floor and we moved those down to a lower level,” Kauer said. “We covered up work stations and called the insurance company.

“Fortunately the weather turned in our favor and the crew was able to get right to work making it right.”

Randy Teixeira, the president of Custom Metal Roofs of Maine, supervised the cleanup.

“In 25 years, I’ve never seen a whole sheet of roof come off like that,” he said as crews covered the exposed roof with tarps and strapping. “The whole thing will have to be replaced, but it ain’t going to be today. We’re just buttoning it up for now.”

Kauer said she believed damage inside the museum was minimal, but according to Teixeira the damage to the exterior is extensive. Plywood on the roof was so rotted Teixeira said his crew could not anchor safety harnessess as they worked from an aerial lift boom to remove fascia boards and felt paper.

“They’ll almost need some kind of engineer to give the go ahead on replacing it.” Teixeira said.

According to Kauer, the roof of the main building is original to the 24-year old structure.

“This building has been through hurricanes. I don’t know what it was about the wind today,” she said.

The museum was closed to visitors Thursday but reopened Friday.

“We will open back up to visitors when it’s safe. We have to do what we have to do to make it right,” Kauer said.

There’s no immediate estimate of the cost to replace the damaged roof. No one was injured.

High winds kept public safety crews busy throughout the morning, responding mostly to calls of downed trees on a day when the Associated Press reported a 63-mph wind gust had been recorded at Bath.

Brunswick police Deputy Marc Hagan said calls began at around 7:51 a.m. for traffic signals out on Bath and Gurnet roads and in the Cook’s Corner area. 

The fire department was called to Mere Point Road where trees were on fire on a power line. 

There was also a tree reported on lines on Basswood Road, one reported down on College Street and another draped across the railroad tracks behind Fat Boys on Bath Road. 

 Hagan said power outages caused security alarms to go off at several businesses.

The Topsham Fire Department was busy responding to numerous calls, mostly reports of downed trees.

Approximately 10,000 people in the Mid-coast were without power at the peak of the outages Thursday morning, according to data from Central Maine Power Company.


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