VACAVILLE, Calif. (CBS13) –– A bystander narrowly escaped serious injury when the roof on a gas station awning came crashing down, apparently caused by two decades of pigeons making themselves at home.

Chris Doss said she had just bought gas for her vehicle at the Quick Way Gas on Merchant Street just after 2:00 p.m. Monday afternoon when she heard a loud bang and saw the roof crash down next to her.

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“Got in the car and within two to three seconds, there was this explosion,” Doss said. “Close call.”

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Doss said she believes she could have been killed if she were caught underneath the wreckage.

Firefighters said about 20 years of pigeons loitering on the roof had led to a build up of fecal matter nearly a foot thick. The structure was built with an outdated design and couldn’t handle the weight.

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The owner of the property said he purchased the business in foreclosure a year ago and now plans to tear the whole structure down.