PALMETTO - A part of Warehouse 2 at Port Manatee was damaged last month when a forklift rolled into the building.
The building, not the southern part being leased by Fresh Quest for its melon and cantaloupe import business but the northern part leased by Liberty Terminals, was damaged enough that the county's Building Department had to come in and assess it for habitability, port executive director David McDonald said Thursday.
"One of our stevedoring companies accidentally ran a forklift into one of our warehouses, creating some structural damage," he said. "We had to hire an engineering firm in order to go in and do an analysis of the structural damage so we can formalize a claim against the stevedoring company. It's one of those perfunctory procedural things. We'll get his fees back through the insurance carrier of the stevedoring company."
The building was literally moved, he said. "It was substantial enough that the warehouse had to be shut down. The entire warehouse had to be emptied and shut down until life-safety issues are corrected."
"I don't know if they lost the brakes on it or what, but it was one of these big, heavy-duty container forklifts, not just a little forklift that you see driving around, it picks up trucks for a living," McDonald said. "And it rolled down this incline and it just hit some beams that shoved the warehouse internally kind of off-kilter. And so that's what caused the concern with those that consider life-safety issues: Fire Department, Fire Marshal, Planning and Engineering Department. They all came out and looked at it and said that we have to get this fixed before we allow it to be used again."
The cargo was moved to another warehouse, number 7, and they are approving the engineer so they can assess the damage.