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Banquet Hall Roof Collapses During Snowstorm

Roof Collapse
The roof of the Baby Ballroom at Café La Cave in Des Plaines collapsed on March 6, 2013, apparently due to the weight of several inches of snow from overnight, combined with snow from previous storms the week before. (Credit: CBS)

Updated 03/07/13 - 6:19 a.m.

DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) -- Part of the roof of a popular suburban banquet hall collapsed overnight, apparently due to the weight of the heavy snow that fell during Tuesday's snowstorm.

A portion of the roof on the southwest corner of Café La Cave in Des Plaines caved in around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to Des Plaines Fire Battalion Chief Mike Tripicchio.

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The Baby Ballroom at the banquet hall was empty at the time, and no one was injured.

Tripicchio said the Des Plaines Fire Department and a city building inspector believe the roof collapsed due to the weight of the snow. At nearby O'Hare International Airport, the snowfall was measured at 9.2 inches after the storm ended.

The Baby Ballroom will remain closed until engineers examine the damage, and contractors can make repairs.

Cafe La Cave Roof Collapse
Part of the roof at Cafe La Cave, a banquet hall in Des Plaines, collapsed on March 6, 2013, apparently due to the weight of snow from a winter storm. (Credit: CBS)

Owner Kimberly Sutter was scrambling to clean up the rest of the facility, and hoped to reopen by Friday. An event planned for hundreds of guests Wednesday night was relocated to another banquet hall.

After the collapse, beautiful chandeliers still hung from the ceiling that was smashed to the ground, leaving the light fixtures oddly misplaced.

Sutter said the roof caved in under the combined weight of the snow from Tuesday's storm, and the heavy snow from storms last week; "because of the weight of last week's snow, with it being so heavy and so wet, and then with this snow again just being as wet as it was, just the weight."

The calamity scared customers who reserved the venue for their big parties and receptions Wednesday night and this weekend.

Sutter was calling customers to reassure them the banquet hall will do what it can to find a way to hold those events.

The damage was isolated to the Baby Ballroom, and Sutter hoped to reopen the rest of the banquet hall soon.

"We'll be able to overcome this," she said.

Mother Nature might have put a dent in the 44-year-old family business, but it's nothing they can't handle.

"We are so incredibly thankful that nobody was here, nobody was hurt. This is a thing; this can be replaced, people cannot," Sutter said.

Sutter was not quite sure how much repairs would cost, but she said the banquet hall is insured.

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