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Monday, October 17, 2016

Witness: Three injured in ceiling collapse at Nashua Bertucci's

By DON HIMSEL
Staff Writer

NASHUA – One male and two females were injured Monday when a portion of the ceiling inside the Bertucci’s Restaurant on Amherst Street collapsed onto them.

First responders from Nashua Fire Rescue, Nashua Police Department and AMR Ambulance responded to a reported ceiling collapse. Deputy fire chief Glen MacDonald confirmed three people were hurt when a 12-foot-long and 8-foot wide decorative component of the restaurant’s ceiling fell on them shortly before 2 p.m. ...

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NASHUA – One male and two females were injured Monday when a portion of the ceiling inside the Bertucci’s Restaurant on Amherst Street collapsed onto them.

First responders from Nashua Fire Rescue, Nashua Police Department and AMR Ambulance responded to a reported ceiling collapse. Deputy fire chief Glen MacDonald confirmed three people were hurt when a 12-foot-long and 8-foot wide decorative component of the restaurant’s ceiling fell on them shortly before 2 p.m.

“It came right down in front of me, boom,” said Pete Richard, of Hudson, who was having lunch in the dining room with his wife, Kathie, and his sister Marianne Lacourciere, of Hooksett. He stood outside with containers of food as first responders worked inside.

The sound of the ceiling coming down was “loud,” he said, “like glass breaking.”

“One guy got it pretty good across his back,” Richard said. “A waitress got bopped on the head, too.”

Several fire trucks from Nashua, Hudson and Merrimack were in the restaurant’s parking lot near the Somerset Parkway, along with a handful of ambulances.

“It’s a decorative section of the ceiling that’s right under the skylight,” MacDonald said. “It’s called a cloud feature. It looks like aluminum framing with sheetrock over it. It’s heavy. We tried to lift it; it’s very heavy.”

Richard described it as metal framing with a double layer of drywall and suspended ceiling underneath with lights and speakers.

“It was only held up there with the wire they hang a suspended ceiling with. But this was not a suspended ceiling,” he said.

MacDonald said the incident is being investigated by the Nashua Building Department and the fire marshal’s office.

Lacourciere, Richard’s sister, said some of the debris did “get the waitress in the head and it knocked her down, but the table stopped it from squishing.”

Describing the chain of events, Richard said, “it came down and hit him and shot him into his wife or whatever, the table and everything went into her, and he got pushed out of the way. So three people actually got a little bit dinged up. It was very scary.”

MacDonald said he was uncertain at the scene of any potential building violations, which would be determined by the city’s code enforcement department.

The restaurant will be closed until officials finish their investigation, with which Bertucci’s is fully cooperating.

“Today, a ceiling cloud fell in the Nashua New Hampshire Bertucci’s location. We called first responders immediately,” according to a press statement from a company spokesperson. “We can confirm that a guest was taken to the hospital for treatment. We are waiting to be advised of his condition. Additionally, out of an abundance of caution one staff member was also taken to the hospital. We have temporarily closed this restaurant to investigate the situation and to ensure the location is safe. Safety is our first priority, and we are currently working with local officials to complete the investigation and to determine when we will reopen.”

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590, dhimsel@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DonH.