Injuries Reported in Roof Collapse at Coat Hanger Factory

Several workers were injured and others needed help getting out of the rubble when a roof collapsed Thursday at a clothes hanger factory, company officials said.

Ambulances took the injured workers to hospitals after the collapse at M&B Hangers shortly after 9 a.m. in Leeds, near Birmingham. About 40 people were inside the plant, but none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, President and CEO Milton Magnus said.

"It started falling in sections. People were there on forklifts and they were able to get away when they saw it," Magnus said.

He said one contract employee had a broken arm, another a broken leg, and four or five others were taken to the hospital for treatment of cuts and bruises.

Plant officials said contractors had been working on beams inside the building after a forklift hit a column about two weeks ago, but it wasn't clear why the roof collapsed.

Magnus said nothing happened immediately before the roof fell, and it was possible the weight of heavy rain Thursday morning stressed the roof.

"It could have been a lot worse. We were very blesssed. God looked out for us," Magnus said.

About one-third of the roofing over the 100,000-square-foot building fell into an area that has picnic tables and is used as a break area and for storage.

Cleanup efforts were hampered by rain as a storm front moved through the state. Magnus said he hopes the plant can resume operations next week.

M&B, with about 100 employees, is one of the nation's largest makers of clothes hangers, and it's one of only a handful of hanger companies remaining in the United States.