The first of two airplane hangar collapses at the Ontario Municipal Airport happened a couple weeks ago — and the planes inside did not fare well.
The planes were a Cessna 182 and an Aircoupe.
“I’m sure they’re both completely gone,” said Tom Frazier, the contracted fixed-base operator at the airport. “The roof came down on the planes. I was the first to see that it had collapsed.”
Frazier had the unenviable job of notifying the planes’ owners about the building failure.
A portion of another hangar collapsed last Sunday, Frazier said. That building houses a valuable antique plane — a Fairchild from the 1930s.
Frazier said the big snowfall a few weeks ago left nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground. Snow on the roof of one of his hangars put so much pressure on the doors of the nearly 6,000-square-foot building that he couldn’t get them open.
“We were able to get on the roof with snowblowers and get the roof cleaned off,” he said. They were then able to get inside the building. They’ve cleaned the roof off a second time since then.
Frazier said there are about 70 aircraft housed in 40 or 50 private hangars. The owners of the buildings are responsible for clearing the roofs.
He said some have used snowblowers, while others have had to do it manually.
Frazier grew up in northeastern Oregon and has lived in Alaska.
“In Alaska, we did see some of that — either with wind or heavy snow,” he said. “In Oregon, I’ve never seen that.”