A scary situation at a popular New York lunch spot has left its owners and patrons in complete shock, unsure of the restaurant’s future.
According to local New York news affiliate CBS2, an outdoor façade collapsed out of nowhere during the lunch rush at Tequila Sunrise, a well-known Mexican eatery in Larchmont, NY, a village about 18 miles northeast of Manhattan.
A vigilant bystander, Erin Ferrarone, noticed a crack developing in the terra cotta roof and notified the restaurant. A waiter ushered four people inside who were sitting directly under the façade just minutes before it violently collapsed onto the sidewalk.
“I saw the crack in the side of the building, I was standing there with my friend,” Ferrarone said. “I went over to the building department and told them about the crack and then my friend, Jen, she went into Tequila Sunrise and told them because there were four people sitting outside and they moved them inside.”
Tequila Sunrise issued a statement on their Facebook page just hours after the collapse.
“At 12:30 p.m. today, the front signage at Tequila Sunrise fell onto the sidewalk. We are all safe and thankful that no one was injured in the accident. Thank you all for your heartfelt concern and messages!” the statement said.
Firefighters are searching for answers as to why the roof collapsed. They point to a fire the building had several years ago, as well as noting that the heavy terra cotta roof played a role in its instability.
While the terra cotta roof suits the Mexican flair of the restaurant, a more durable material could have helped prevent this near-tragedy. Metal roofs often last 50 or more years with proper maintenance, and they are generally better at withstanding fire damage than other materials.
While the fire department searches for answers, the staff and patrons who witnessed the roof collapse are still shaken by the experience.
The waiter who moved the four patrons inside, identified only as “Carlos,” was visibly distraught and refused further comment regarding the incident.
Lohud.com reports that the collapse was originally called in to authorities as an “explosion,” but Larchmont Fire Chief John Caparelli said there was no explosion, adding that it was “a miracle” that nobody was harmed by the falling roof.
Tequila Sunrise is closed until further notice. The restaurant must submit new roofing plans to the town from a structural engineer before it can reopen.