MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. – More than 200 employees at Amazon’s new fulfillment center in Muhlenberg Township were forced out into the bitter cold late Wednesday morning, as fire crews assessed the building’s roof.
“Our crews arrived. There were concerns of the snow load on the roof, that the structural integrity was at compromise,” said Chief Larry Moyer, Muhlenberg Township Fire Department.
Crews determined the building’s roof started to bow beneath the weight of the snow.
“There are concerns for the safety of the people in the building,” Moyer added, “so operations for Amazon have ceased.”
The building, however, isn’t being condemned, according to Moyer.
“The safety and well-being of our associates is our number one priority,” Amazon said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have sent employees home with pay for the day.”
Amazon opened the facility at 1002 Patriot Parkway, just north of the FirstEnergy Stadium and the Carpenter Technology complex, as a receive center in September 2020.
The storm, however, didn’t cause issues for just Amazon.
At Willow Creek Brewing in West Reading, the weight of the snow on the outdoor dining tent forced its roof to collapse.
“Poor planning on our part,” owner Mark Camlin said.
Camlin said he and his team forgot to take down the tent Sunday night, after hosting a private party at the brewery on Penn Avenue.
“Didn’t even think about taking the tent top off before the snowstorm hit,” Camlin added. “Snowstorm hit and you can see what happened from there.”
Camlin said he plans to buy a new tent once he sets aside time to dig out the old one.
“Pouring beer and shoveling snow is what we’re doing lately,” he said.