UPDATED: Snow Collapses Roof at AMF Smithtown Lanes

Locals upset over devastation at longtime bowling alley.

SMITHTOWN, NY -- The roof of the AMF Smithtown Lanes bowling alley collapsed Saturday under the weight of heavy snow, Suffolk County Police confirmed.

According to the police, officers were on scene after a 4:30 p.m. call to 911 tipped off authorities about the collapse, which also caused a water leak at the business. The Town of Smithtown, Long Island Power Authority, the Smithtown Fire Department and the Suffolk County Water Authority all responded.

The building was not occupied at the time of the collapse and nobody was injured.

The National Weather Service said snowfall in Smithtown from Friday's blizzard totalled above 25 inches.

As of Saturday evening, photos of the collapsed roof began circulating on social media sites, as well as a few comments lamenting what could be the loss of a Smithtown landmark.

"This is actually so sad. I won my first scratch off at #smithtownlanes," tweeted Amanda Tyrrell.

On Facebook, many Smithtown Patch Facebook fans shared their memories of the lanes.

"It is such a landmark of Smithtown families," said Melissa Finneran Mowl. "We were just there for Super Bowl bowling! I'll have to put it gently to my son who wants to have his birthday party there in June."

Kelly McCullough added, "My 8th grade class use to have bowling parties there all the time. My parents use to take us there as a reward for good grades growing up."

Paul Molnar, vice president of the Smithtown Youth Bowling Association, which meets at the Smithtown lanes, said it was still unclear what the impact would have on the organization.

"We have no information yet from AMF about how long the center will be out of service," he said in an email. "However we are working quickly with AMF to find an alternate location to keep our programs running without interruption to the schedule."

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A Concerned Resident February 10, 2013 at 12:42 AM
That is where I first learned to bowl in 1963, I hope this does not put them out of business. I hope no one was hurt!
Mary K. Weismann-Lucy February 10, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Is this the only bowling alley in Smithtown near the railroad? Gee, I hope all are safe, and they can rebuild. That's one historic site for many of us who grew up in Smithtown... many fond memories.
John Strahlman February 10, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Wow, I spent many, many hours in that place!! For a buck and a quarter I would bowl 3 games and rent shoes!!!!
N Guardino February 10, 2013 at 01:34 AM
John, I think it's been a LONG time since you were there. Hope they rebuild.
Tom A Chura Jr February 10, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Wow!! I wonder if I met you concerned citizen... I uses to bowl there in 1963!!u Dad bowled in a church league in those days!! I used to go there for HS bowling...
Brian Paul Knust February 10, 2013 at 02:27 AM
I quite literally grew up in that bowling alley, pretty much only went home to sleep (and sometimes eat). ALL of my spare time (see what I did there?) was spent at that center. My grandfather worked there as a pin spotter before they had machines, and taught me how to bowl there before they had accuscore installed, I was 4 or 5 when it went in. If not for Smithtown AMF Lanes, I would probably have never became a member of the Professional Bowlers Association.
jessica favata- forzese February 10, 2013 at 02:40 AM
I used to go there before I moved to mass with my friends. Wow can't belive that they wore not more prepared. It is sad to here about even when u move 250 miles away. Hopefuly they rebuild the damage.
Jim Bennett February 10, 2013 at 02:58 AM
I feel bad for the employees and hope that AMF can take care of them until Smithtown AMF comes back, bigger and better.
chris smith February 10, 2013 at 03:38 AM
i seen shingles missing from the roof since the hurricane, wondering why they never fixed it. probably had nothing to do with it but you never know
melissa February 10, 2013 at 03:44 AM
I hate to see this happen to anyone's business but I am thanking god it happened. You see, my son and his entire kindergarten class were supposed to be there for a birthday party tomorrow (if they were open). I cannot fathom the "could have beens" had the roof held on until tomorrow and it gave way when my son and his entire class was in there tomorrow. I can't even think about it. I do hope they are able to rebuild, we spend SO SO SO much time there as my little guys is an avid bowler.
nt February 10, 2013 at 03:53 AM
I had fun bowling there too in the '80s... Glad no one was inside when the roof came down, and I hope they can rebuild!
Deer Park Bowl February 10, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Deer Park Bowl would be more than happy to help house the leagues in the meantime. We have some room weeknights and weekends. Any way we can help. 631-667-7750 We hope you get up and running soon! Glad no one was hurt.
cassandra maldonado February 10, 2013 at 04:29 AM
My husband johnny maldonado is the facility manager at smithtown AMF lanes, he's been there for 13 years and it would be sad if this facility would not reopen...
Mike February 10, 2013 at 07:01 AM
Amf Commack if taking in the business. When you call smithtown it will be forwarded to Commack. I work for Commack and know one of the assistant managers and we had them transfer the leagues to Commack for the time being
Chris Collings February 10, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Roof collapse is preventable with improved visibility of roof conditions during and after a storm. Snow weight can shift as it melts or absorbs additional weight from rain, or mixed precip. Visit saferoofsystems.com for free guides on safe snow removal
Karen H. Knust February 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM
We will all get together and have a bowling party when they re-open.
Rob Gravino February 10, 2013 at 01:40 PM
The roof there has leaked for years. They have done nothing to fix the main issues. I'm sure the structural integrity of the trusses have been undermined with all the water damage. Ask anyone who bowls in a league there. Lanes 1-6 have been shut down many times during heavy down pours. This is not due solely to snow it's due to negligence
Fred Tuccillo February 10, 2013 at 02:27 PM
At one point in its history, the place was partially owned by New York Yankee Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford. As Yogi Berra says, "You could look it up."
Lxix Isee February 10, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Len Katauskas February 10, 2013 at 08:21 PM
To remove the snow from your roof, use the MinnSNOWta Roof Razor. It is easy to use, safe on your body (no need to climb up on the roof). It's the only tool that will get the job done. For $150.00 you will protect your home or business from ice dams, roof collapse, all while keeping YOURSELF SAFE from falling since you clear all the snow from the ground. Spread the word. www.MinnSNOWta.com We are a small family owned Minnesota business headquartered in northern Minnesota. After your area plows and shovels out from the 2-3 foot snow totals, roof accumulations will be the next order of business. Thank you,
Debra Judge February 10, 2013 at 08:34 PM
It's really sad that the owners neglected needed repairs This may not have happened if they had tended to business and kept the roof in good repair. Luckily nobody was injured for their negligence. I hope they rebuild. It sounds like a lot of people have really good memories of the place. It's really hard for people to lose a historical icon like this.
Debra Judge February 10, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Oh, by the way...we just lost the AMF Bowling Center in Des Moines this year. They didn't keep it up so people found other places to bowl. We also lost Thunderbird Lanes several years ago. It was a small family owned bowling alley, and it couldn't compete with the big centers. It seems like bowling alleys are going the way of Drive-In theaters...Soon they will be extinct. I hope not! I spent many happy hours at them while my parents bowled when I was growing up.
paul February 10, 2013 at 11:11 PM
I guess you don't read line 7 states "The building was not occupied at the time of the collapse and nobody was injured."
James O'Connell February 11, 2013 at 01:34 AM
I bowl in 5 leagues there and i hate the lanes. But i've became better and the lanes is like family to me
Seth Berman February 11, 2013 at 02:36 AM
Debra I don't know what you can do about 25 inches of snow on top of a base of ice that started the storm. It was a bowed roof and just couldn't handle the load. I bowl(ed) at Smithtown for 34 years and while we always found a reason to complain about certain conditions I don't see how you can say that this was neglect.
Rob Gravino February 11, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Seth, it is due to negligence. Did many other roofs nuclear under 24" of snow. Round top roofs are designed for load purposes. The roof failed bc they allowed water to leak on wood for years, atleast the 7 years I've bowled there. I'm a facilities manager and would be fire if this happened at one if my sites.
Theresa Papka February 12, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Theresa Papka My dad and sister have been bowling in this center for years. I recently just got back to bowling 3 years ago. It is great. I hope it doesn't go out of business. A lot of people would be disappointed. just rebuild the center. that would be nice


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