Owners heard 'creaking' before strip mall roof collapse

 They looked up and it came crashing down as part of a Livonia strip mall collapsed Wednesday.

Eight hours after the collapse, a fence surrounds the property. Inside the Honeybaked Ham store, the open light remains on because nobody is allowed inside to turn it off. 

Five popular Livonia businesses were shut down as a sea of blocks and bricks collapses. The businesses at Merriman Road and Five Mile are HoneyBaked Ham, Mama Vera's Pizza, The Metro PCS phone store, a nail salon and Showerman's Fine Wine. 

"First pop and crack noises, then a big boom," said Sam Shoukri, the owner of Showerman's Fine Wine. "We noticed that the facade was leaning forward a few days earlier and the landlord was notified. 

"Today when I came this morning, I noticed the whole thing was getting worse and worse."

While working in his wine shop Shoukri noticed the building facade leaning a few days ago.  He said he notified the landlord and a crew investigated just prior to the collapse. 

"He sent some crew to look at the facade and roof," Shoukri said. "By the time they went upstairs to look at it, it was too late." 

With everyone open for business during the 2 p.m. collapse, there were no injuries.

"It's a lucky day here," said Capt. Scott Graham of the Livonia Fire Department.

Livonia Firefighters responding to a call for a building collapse were expecting the worst. 

"We had a few procedures to make sure the utilities were secure," Graham said. "And helped the store owners get the cash and valuables out the back doors.

"Now it's restoration companies taking care of the rest."

Inside, there's very little damage or none at all. The block, brick and metal facade became a crushing blanket in front of all the stores as well as littering the parking lot.  

A structural engineer will investigate to determine when it will be safe to re-open the businesses.  

Only two vehicles were damaged in the parking lot.
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