A main portion of the Southport Shopping Center in Mason City collapsed Sunday, likely due to a combination of heavy snow and rain. The building used to house Target and Hobby Lobby and appears to be a total loss. Southport leasing manager Lyle Holmgaard says people passing by before 6 A.M. Sunday first noticed the collapse.

He says police received a report of people on a walk or jog by the property hearing the sound of water over the top of their MP3 players, which turned out to be from the sprinkler system that had broken due to the collapse. The building is owned by Portland Investments Company of Los Angeles. Holmgaard says they’ll be investigating later today the exact causes of the collapse, but he says it’s likely due to heavy snow.

He says about all they can tell at this point is that melting snow combined with the rain caused the southeast corner of the building to fail, but insurance investigators will be in to check over the building in the next few days. Holmgaard says an adjacent business, the Tobacco Outlet, will remain closed until investigators can assure that building is safe to occupy.

He says city officials recommended that nobody occupy the Tobacco Outlet until a structural engineer takes a look at it and the owner’s maintenance engineer will be flying in to inspect the damage. Holmgaard says it’s too early to say, but depending on the outcome of looking over the building, they’ll determine what to do with the rest of the property. A former bowling alley building in Hampton also collapsed over the weekend. The roof on the old Trico Lanes succumbed to the weight of snow and rain early Sunday morning.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City