Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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COVINGTON, La. -- At first glance, the hazard tape around the Wendy's restaurant on Park Place off of Hwy. 190 in Covington is the only thing that appears amiss.

But when you look closer, you can see sunlight, along with parts of the ceiling, hanging into the dining room of the business.

The exterior brick looks cracked and leaning inward, and company representatives were taking it all in Wednesday morning.

Barricades had to be built to keep would-be customers from doing the same. But employees who work next door got an eye-full.

'We eat over there all the time, from goodwill, just glad nobody got hurt,' said customer Vickie Armand.

The damage being assessed is from a roof collapse during Tuesday night's thunderstorm, which even took first responders by surprise.

'We thought it was maybe the drop ceiling, just the tiles, but the actual whole flat roof came down,' said St. Tammany Fire District #12 District Chief Eric Rodick.

The fire department says there was one customer in the dining room and several employees behind the counter. The customer saw water dripping from the ceiling and told the employees, who asked him to leave as a precaution.

Then the employees heard the ceiling cracking, left the building and watched the roof fall in from the parking lot.

'The only answer we could think was that a lot of the, we had such a severe rain storm, that the weight of the water built up and for some reason there was a weak spot and the whole thing collapsed,' Rodick said.

It's a baffling concept for many, especially since the restaurant just reopened in December from a renovation project.

'That's scary,' said Armand, 'They just remodeled so I figured it should have been okay.'

But a lot of questions remain as an official cause is still under investigation.

Wendy's representatives told us they had no comment due to the ongoing investigation.

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