Alternate exit advised after floor joist breaks

Eric McCarthy
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ALBERTON -- The floor supports of the Alberton Arts and Heritage Centre will have to be inspected and repaired before more events are held there, the facility’s caretaker said Thursday night.

At the conclusion of a book launch at the centre Thursday night, the assembled crowd was instructed to exit through the attached hall rather than out the main door.

Earlier in the program, there was a loud “pop” and audience members near the rear of the room felt the floor suddenly settle. Although some in the crowd admitted being startled by the incident, everyone remained in their seats and the function continued.

Alan Curtis, who looks after the facility went to the basement to check and determined that a floor joist had given way. “This one has probably rotted,” he said, adding that, with floor joists strung about 18 inches apart in the building which is a decommissioned church, there was no danger of the floor giving way. Still, he said, it is important to have the structure examined and repaired before another function is held in the center.

The floor joist that broke was located about three feet into the center from the main entrance.

The center was filled to standing room for the launch of the Western Hospital history book. An exit through the hall was not problematic, though, as that was the direction anyone who wanted to purchase copies of the book would have to proceed anyway, and the hall was where the refreshments were spread out.

Organizations: Western Hospital

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