GOFFSTOWN — The canopy over Cumberland Farms on Mast Road will be demolished next week, following a scathing building inspection that determined that the columns holding the structure up are deformed and severely deteriorated, officials say.
In a Nov. 29 Planning Board meeting, Cumberland Farms submitted an emergency request to remove the canopy from the 772 Mast Road location.
Director of planning and economic development Jo Ann Duffy said Goffstown first became aware of the issue when a resident filed a complaint with the town’s building inspector, who requested that Cumberland Farms obtain a report on state of the canopy from a structural engineer.
The report, completed by Tirey & Associates on Oct. 2, noted the poor condition of the columns holding the canopy up, but singled out one as “severely deteriorated” and “unsafe” to the point that “the framing supported by this column should be immediately shored in place, or the entire gas island should be shut down and cars not permitted to be parked under the canopy.”
In the same report, president and principal structural engineer Jeffery Tirey said he feared for the safety of the structure during the course of his own inspection.
“The northwest corner of the column is essentially gone,” wrote Tirey. “While there appears to be steel at the corner, it is so thin and corroded that I did not bang on it with a hammer because I did not want to make the column more unsafe than it already is.”
Cumberland Farms had no comment on the safety of the Mast Road station, which property records indicate was constructed in 1973.
After approving the proposed demolition, the board called on Cumberland Farms to produce a plan for temporary lighting of the area, as the canopy is the primary source of lighting for the fuel pumps.
Minutes from the Nov. 29 meeting indicate that Duffy rejected the temporary lighting plan, but said she has since received a second draft as well as an amended site plan for the company’s plans for the station once the canopy has been removed.
Duffy said the company didn’t lay out a plan to replace the canopy in the amended site plan, which she said she found to be odd.
“It was sort of unusual — you know, we live in New England,” she said, referring to the region’s unpredictable winter weather.
Officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office verified that canopies with automatic fire suppression systems must be installed on all new unattended self-service gas stations, but existing facilities like Cumberland Farms’ Mast Road location are under no state obligation to replace their canopy.
Cumberland Farms also had no comment on why it chose not to repair or replace the canopy.