Damaged by Ian, Sandman Books roof collapses on owner

Published: December 27, 2022 4:40 PM EST
Updated: December 28, 2022 8:26 AM EST

A bookstore owner was sent to the hospital after the roof collapsed on him in Charlotte County.

Heidi Lange and her husband own Sandman Books in Punta Gorda, which suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Ian.

The well-known book arch at Sandman Books store. CREDIT: WINK News

While Sandman Books was once considered a popular spot to hang out with friends, it metamorphosed into a hazard because of Ian.

The store has been working on packing everything to move to a new location.

Langespoke with WINK News about how the store changed from the storm.

“There was water on the floor throughout. The book arch had actually soaked up a ton of water and saved most of the bookshelves around it because it acted like a giant sponge,” Lange said.

The hole in the roof. CREDIT: WINK News

The biggest worry about the store was the roof, which was visibly not holding up.

Lange told WINK News her landlord sent contractors to make repairs, but she lamented they made things dangerously worse.

“A whole section of the ceiling actually fell down and hit my husband on the head and knocked him out,” Lange said. “He had a gash in the corner of his head, and they did a CT scan. He definitely has a concussion.”

Fortunately for the bookstore owner, his injuries are not too severe, and he’s okay. Nevertheless, they are just another hurdle and obstacle to overcome after recently getting bad news from their landlord.

How Sandman Books looks after the damage. CREDIT: WINK News

Earlier in December, the bookstore owners got a notice to get out of the building by the new year.

“I’m angry, she’s sad, she’s upset, she cries. I’ve worked my butt off in here to make sure that all this stuff is still good, and now we’re gonna put it into a storage locker because people aren’t good,” Emily Brockelsby, Heidi’s friend, said.

WINK News reached out to the landlord, Gabriel Kirchberger, to get his side of the story.

“If the damage is more than 30%, the lender has the right to cancel the lease,” Kirchberger said.

“The lease says the tenant is responsible for the damage. She says she has a $1,000,000 damage with insurance pays whatever $500,000. She has insurance; it’s not my fault that she’s under insurance,” Kirchberger said.

Reluctantly, instead of fighting, Lange is boxing up her things in the store with the help of family and friends like Brockelsby.

With Sandman Books’ story ending, Heidi Lange is optimistically turning the page and ready for the next chapter in her life.