September 5 Structural Failures Found in Newspaper Archives - An Engineer's Aspect


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Saturday, September 5, 2009

September 5 Structural Failures Found in Newspaper Archives

1903 - Viuton, Iowa, USA--Building collapse.

Fitchburg Daily Sentinel, Saturday, September 5, 1903, Page 8.


Viuton, Ia., Sept. 5.--William Johnson was killed and five painters were injured by the collapse of the front and side walls of a two-story brick building. The building had been undergoing repairs for a month and an iron support under one corner gave way.

1906 - Roanoke, Virginia, USA--Street railway bridge collapses.

The Washington Post, Thursday, September 6, 1906, Page 4.


Street Railway Bridge Collapses, Throwing Crowded Car Into Creek.

Roanoke, Va., Sept. 5 -- Charles Cuff, a negro, was instantly killed, and five white people were more or less seriously injured by the collapse of a street railway bridge over Tinker Creek, between Roanoke and Vinton, to-day.

The injured: Charles Parker, arm crushed and afterward amputated; P. B. Lane, wrist cut and head bruised; Frank Bell, head badly cut; Fred Long, arm broken, and Mrs. W. D. Prince, arm broken.

The car was coming from Vinton to Roanoke, and was carrying about a hundred passengers. On the east side of the bridge the motorman stopped his car to allow several persons to get on board, and had barely started again and was about the middle of the bridge when the structure collapsed, dropping the crowded car backward into a creek fifteen feet below. A panic followed the crash, and Conductor Trout fought the passengers to keep them from trampling each other, and probably saved a number of lives by his determined efforts.

The bridge was considered one of the best on the system, and no cause is known for its collapse.

1912 - Stevenage, England--Two killed when airplane wing collapses.

Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, Nevada, Friday, September 6, 1912, Page 1.



Wings of Aeroplane Collapse and Machine Falls From Altitude of 250 Feet

STEVENAGE, Eng., Sept. 6.--Two more British army officers lost their lives while flying today.

Captain Patrick Hamilton had taken Lieutenant Stewart with him as a passenger in his biplane. The two officers had flown for a considerable time when a strong wind sprang up, and in endeavoring to make headway against it one of the wings of the aeroplane collapsed. The machine fell from an altitude of 250 feet and was destroyed. The bodies of the two officers were found in the wreck. Captain Hamilton was an infantry officer belonging to the Worcestershire regiment, but was attached for duty to the army flying corps. Lieutenant Stewart was not an aviator.

1927 - Auburn, Massachusetts, USA--Well shaft collapse.

The Times Recorder, Zanesville, Ohio, Tuesday, September 6, 1927.

Collins' Living Death Aids Workers In Rescue Of Man Buried In Well

AUBURN, Mass., Sept. 5.--Floyd Collins, whose living death in a Kentucky cave kept a nation in suspense, did not die in vain. This is the opinion of Massachusetts engineers and excavation experts, who say that lessons learned from the Collins case were a vital factor in the rescue of an Auburn man who faced the same death.

The man is Fred Leneau, 37, a molder by occupation. Having built a tiny three-room bungalow for himself and his wife, he set about providing his home with water. The task involved the digging of a deep well, a short distance from his home.

Shaft Collapses

Well-digging being a little outside Leneau's line of labor, he didn't know that two-by-fours, eight-by-tens, and other heavy timbers were necessary for shoring, with five nails to each junction. So he simply used half-inch and one-inch boards with one nail to junction. When his work was almost completed, he descended to the forty-foot level one evening to prepare for the finishing touches. Suddenly, with a sickening roar, the well collapsed on him.

Engineers cannot understand why Leneau was not smothered to death instantly. It so happened, however, that the boards fell about him in such a way as to give him a little breathing space, and up through the tons of loose earth that were between him and the stars, were other little holes which let some air down to him.

Alive After Cave-In

As it was, though he found himself still alive after the first shock, his position was disheartening. The boards and earth had forced him into a position where he was bent over at the middle, unable to straighten up or stir. One arm was forced to his side, as powerless as if he was paralyzed. Another was forced under his chin. Unable to move a muscle, he was gripped in this torturing position, and he could feel that behind his head was a tremendous boulder. He scarcely dared breathe, for fear of dislodging this and ending his life.

Mrs. Leneau, first to learn his plight, telephoned wildly for help. Engineers and materials came from cities and contractors. Flare lights were set up; hundreds of workers volunteered. A crowd of 15,000 persons stood breathless on the slopes of a natural amphitheatre, for the 30 hours in which Leneau was entombed.

Profit By Collins Case

Engineers, profiting by the Collins case, lost no time. They immediately started a parallel shaft some distance away. The shaft, 10 feet one way, and 6 feet across, went slowly down, the workers tortured by the fear that their efforts might dislodge something in Leneau's shaft and turn it into an actual tomb. A steam shovel, which could have torn the hill away in a few hours, was brought up, but the engineers dared not use it.

A priest shouted prayers down the collapsed well, and Leneau answered in weakened responses which could not be heard above. Chilled in a temperature of only eight degrees above zero, he felt himself slowly going. Oxygen was pumped to him through cracks in the collapsed earth. Electricians lowered heating pads as far as they could, to warm the air. Finally, after 32 hours of digging, the connecting shaft was begun. A sudden collapse near Leneau ruined the work of hours, and almost killed him.

Twice again this happened. Finally after 30 hours, a fireman dug up under him, dragged him fainting to a stretcher, and he was raised to the surface. The 15,000 spectators cheered wildly and auto horns screeched. Leneau was rushed to a hospital to ward off pneumonia.

1929 - Marshfield, Wisconsin, USA--Grandstand collapse.

Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune--A Constructive Newspaper, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Friday, September 6, 1929.

Bleachers Collapse At Marshfield Fair

Marshfield, Sept. 6.--A slight commotion was caused here at Thursday night's fair when the wooden bleachers in front of the grand stand suddenly collapsed, creating considerable excitement among the people who occupied those seats. Miss Gene Crashaw, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Crashaw, was the most painfully injured. she received a badly bruised ankle. An unidentified woman hurt her arm. The situation was quickly taken care of by fair officials and the program continued.

1947 - Milan, Italy--Ten people killed in collapse of Rinascente department store.

The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, Saturday, September 6, 1947, Page 2.

Ten Dead, 13 Missing In Building Collapse

MILAN, Sept. 6--(UP)--Ten persons were dead, 25 injured and 13 missing today in the collapse of the Rinascente department store building late yesterday.

An electrician trapped overnight in the wreckage died soon after police rescued him this morning. Another person trapped 15 hours was saved. Police said the search of the debris might take three or four days.

1961 - Melbourne, Missouri, USA--Bridge collapses under school bus.

Moberly Monitor-Index And Democrat, Moberly, Missouri, Wed., Sept. 6, 1961, Page 9.

Four Injured When Bridge Collapses Under School Bus

MELBOURNE, Mo. (AP) -- A county bridge collapsed suddenly under the weight of a school bus Tuesday and it slid backward into a creek, but the driver and nine passengers escaped with nothing worse than sprains and bruises.

The driver, Cleon Harold Sexton of Melbourne, said the bus almost was across the 75-foot bridge when it collapsed.

The four injured passengers were from Brimson, just across the line in Grundy County. Mrs. Litha McClure, 51-year-old school teacher, had a sprained left ankle and a bruised right leg. Leroy Gibson, 18, James Forrest Gibson, 8, and Teresa Smith, 7, also were treated at a hospital in Bethany.

The bus was owned and operated by the Harrison County R-4 School District.

1965 - Lincoln, Nebraska, USA--Sky Ride collapses at Nebraska State Fair.

Tucson Daily Citizen, Tucson, Arizona, Monday, September 6, 1965, Page 5.

Sky Ride Collapses At State Fair

LINCOLN, Neb.--(UP)--A sky ride collapsed while carrying gondola passengers on a cable ride over the crowded Nebraska State Fair midway yesterday, killing two persons and injuring 48.

Screaming riders in cars some 30 feet overhead fell or jumped as two supporting steel towers toppled.

"The ground was just covered with people," said James Anderson of Houston, Tex., nearby ticket seller.

Mrs. Robert Morlan of Lincoln said she counted 17 persons falling "like apples."

Other passengers waited in stalled gondolas as long as 45 minutes until firemen could remove them with cranelike rescue equipment.

KILLED WERE John H. Stevens, 51, of Falls City, Neb., and James Perrie, about 50, Hastings, Neb.

Stevens was dead on arrival at a hospital and Perrie died about five hours after the accident.

A daughter, Mrs. Martha Kershner of Hastings, watched in horror as Perrie and his wife were flipped out of the gondola in which they were riding.

"After it was over, the car was still in the air, upside down," she related.

AN INJURY list compiled from hospital and state fair sources showed 48 persons either hospitalized, treated and released, or examined for injuries. Some were injured when struck while standing near or below the thrill ride.

State fair officials promptly hired an engineering firm to safety check all other midway rides and to begin an investigation to determine the cause of the tragedy.

The sky ride, patterned after mountain ski lifts, used four 40-foot towers to support a moving cable to which were attached the 30 gondolas, each holding two or three passengers, on a 1,100-foot-long overhead trip along the midway.

WILLIAN T. Collins, Minneapolis, Minn., veteran operator of carnival shows, said one tower toppled and dragged a second one down with it.

"I don't know to save my soul what caused that tower to collapse," he said.

1974 - Pierre, South Dakota, USA--State office building under construction collapses.

Huron Daily Plainsman, Huron, South Dakota 57350, Friday, September 6, 1974.

Building collapse probed in Pierre

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- South Dakota State Engineers are investigating the collapse Thursday of a new State Office building under construction in Pierre.

Commissioner of Administration Gerald Andrews said no one was injured when a portion of the front of the structure crumpled to the ground on the site north of the State Capitol complex.

"The engineers are over there investigating the accident," Andrews said. "It looks like a span just collapsed and carried some of the beams and girders down with it."

"We have no indication so far what caused it to fall," he said. "It looks pretty bad, but we have no estimate of damages."

The $2 million structure is designed to house several state agencies when it is completed. About three-fourths of the structure remained standing after the mid-afternoon incident.

1983 - Cairo, Egypt--Wall of condemned 3-story building collapses onto neighboring house and kills three.

The Salina Journal, Tuesday, September 6, 1983, Page 9.

Cairo building collapse kills 3

CAIRO, Egypt (UPI) -- The wall of a condemned three-story building collapsed Monday in a working-class Cairo neighborhood, crushing a room on the top of a neighboring house and killing three children.

Police said the childrens' bodies--1-month-old twins and a 9-year-old girl--were recovered from under the debris by rescue workers.

Their parents were out at the time of the accident at Al-Gamaliya, a poor area in eastern Cairo.

Only the room on the top of the one-story house was destroyed. The house itself was not damaged and its inhabitants, about 20 people, escaped injury.

Inhabitants of the other building that collapsed partially had evacuated it some time ago after authorities condemned it to destruction because it was old and unsafe.

Less than two weeks ago, two houses collapsed in Cairo and the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing 36 people.

Youssef Abu Taleb, the governor of Cairo, a city suffering from a severe housing crisis, said at the time 1,424 people were killed, injured or made homeless as a result of falling houses during the past year.

1998 - Osasco, Brazil--Church roof collapses.

Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, Sunday, September 6, 1998, Page A7.

Church Roof Collapses In Brazil, At Least 30 Killed, Hundreds Hurt

OSASCO, Brazil (AP) -- A church roof collapsed over a packed congregation early Saturday, killing at least 30 people and injuring 538, firefighters said.

About 1,300 people were at the church in Osasco, nine miles southwest of Sao Paulo, when the roof came crashing down, firefighter Fabio Leite said.

"We were praying and had our eyes closed. When we opened them, the building was falling," Maria Aparecida Costa, an injured worshipper, said in a television broadcast from a first-aid station. "I fainted, and when I woke up, I was buried."

Firefighters were not certain why the roof collapsed, but they said the building was more than 40 years old.

The roof was supported by heavy wooden beams that may have rotted, said Lourdes Faccinalli, a town spokeswoman. It rained for several hours before the accident.

"People had splinters and pieces of wood from the beams in their bodies," said Vitor Martins, director of a first-aid station.

Twenty-one people were killed immediately and nine died later, Leite said. An additional 538 people were treated at seven hospitals for a range of injuries, some serious.

The roof came down at about 1:30 a.m. during a vigil at the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Leite said. Evangelical churches often have vigils that run throughout the night.

The church is part of an evangelical network across Latin America. There also are branches in the United States.

2002 - Springfield, Pennsylvania, USA--Water tank collapse.

The Chronicle-Telegram, Friday, September 6, 2002, Page A3.

Man from Ohio killed in water tank collapse

SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (AP)--An Ohioan helping to tear down an unused water storage tank in suburban Philadelphia was killed when the tank collapsed Thursday morning.

Terry Clifton, 43, an employee of Mayer Police Steel Corp. of Pottstown, was helping demolish the empty Philadelphia Suburban Water Co. tank in Springfield Township, Deleware County, when a steel roof collapsed on him, police said.

Clifton, of McConnelsville, Ohio, was pronounced dead at the scene, Springfield Township police said.

A second worker with Clifton was able to get out and did not require medical attention, said Donna Alston, a water company spokeswoman.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating.