June 9th Structural Failures Found in Newspapers (Pre-1970) - An Engineer's Aspect


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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 9th Structural Failures Found in Newspapers (Pre-1970)

Henry Ford said, "Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently."

Every day there is a structural failure somewhere. Hopefully, we are getting smarter about engineering, construction, design and maintenance, because some failures--like failures where lives are lost--cannot possibly be rectified afterward.

June 9, 1927 -- A Bridge over the Grand River in Colorado Collapses.

Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Friday, June 10, 1927, Page 1.

Five Men and Loaded Truck Thrown Into Grand River, Colo.

(Special United News Despatch to Free Press by Free Press Private Wire.)

State Bridge, Colo., June 9.--One man is dead and two others were missing as the result of a bridge collapse which threw five men and a loaded truck into the grand river here late today.

Two of the men on the truck swam to safety.

Rescuers were summoned to the scene of the accident and began dragging the river for the bodies of the missing men.

June 9, 1956 -- A Bridge Collapses in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Lowell Sunday Sun, Lowell, Massachusetts, June 10, 1956, Pages 1 and 6.

Image Caption: DRACUT'S PARKER AVENUE BRIDGE COLLAPSES--Above is a general view of the Parker Avenue bridge in Dracut which collapsed yesterday afternoon. At the time the bridge gave way a truck belonging to the Dracut Sewer Co., was three-quarters of the way across and went down with the span. --Photo by Sun Photographer Anthony Alvei.

Probe Collapse of Parker Avenue Bridge in Dracut

Dracut Selectmen Post Guard Over Ruins Pending Completion of Investigation

Dracut -- Local authorities are continuing investigation this morning into the collapse of the Parker avenue bridge over Breaver book (sic) yesterday afternoon. The bridge gave way as a truck driven by Richard W. Patenaude, 17, of 338 Aiken avenue was crossing it at 12:30 p. m. The truck plunged 20 feet to the stream.

Patenaude, son of Lowell School Committeeman William G. Patenaude, although bruised and shaken, was able to escape from the truck and climb the wall to safety. He was taken to St. Joseph's hospital in a police cruiser where he was treated for bruises and a nose bleed. He suffered a possible back injury
Continued on Page Six

Image Caption: TRUCK GOES DOWN WITH BRIDGE--The Parker Avenue bridge in Dracut, which collapsed yesterday afternoon, is shown above with a truck belonging to the Dracut Sewer Co. which was on the bridge when it gave way. This is a view looking towards Lakeview avenue.

Image Caption: TWISTED WRECKAGE OF BRIDGE--Above, looking from the Lakeview avenue side of Parker Avenue bridge, is the twisted wreckage of the span which collapsed yesterday afternoon. On the further side of the collapsed bridge is the truck belonging to the Dracut Sewer Co., which was on the span when it gave way.

Probe Collapse Of Dracut Bridge
Continued from Front Page

and will return for further examination Tuesday.

The truck, a half-ton body with a back shovel mounted on the rear, is partially in the stream and entangled with the ruined bridge. It will remain there until state engineers have examined and investigated the whole structure.

Flees to Safety

Charles Leclere, 17, of Savoy avenue, was fishing on the bridge and saw the truck hit, police said. He said that he saw the top of the truck (the boom of the hole digger) hit the supporting struts over the road bed. He saw the structure going and got off the bridge quickly in the opposite direction.

Two others nearly missed being on the bridge as it plunged into the brook. Wesley F. Ingles of 25 Bernice avenue, Lowell, had just driven a newspaper delivery truck to solid land before he heard the crash.

At the other end of the bridge, Miss Olivia Curtis of 55 Parker avenue was about to cross when she saw the bridge collapse in front of her.

Gas Main Broken

Emergency crews rushed to the scene, and a broken gas main was quickly shut off. Sgt. Harold Merrill, assisted by Officers Joseph Greenwood and Raymond Dalgie, was in charge of the initial investigation.

The three selectmen for the tow were on hand shortly after the collapse, and ordered police to post a 24-hour-a-day detail to ensure that nothing connected with the bridge or its collapse is touched until state engineers have examined the scene. The y are expected to start official investigations on Monday.

The post of the digger attached to the truck was checked and found to be 11 feet 6 inches high. The bridge clearance was believed to be about 10 feet 8 inches, but the specifications would have to be checked to determine the exact dimensions, officials indicated. There apparently were no signs posted on the bridge giving weight or height limitations. Gross weight of the truck was five tons, the elder Patenaude stated.

Town Highway Surveyor Armand Beaudry stated of the bridge that "It was strong enough structurally to take the load and had taken even heavier loads in the past." He noted that buses used the bridge regularly and that the town grader had recently crossed the span.

Town officials said that the bridge was maintained under Chapter 90 with both county and state funds and inspectors involved as well as those of the town. The bridge was inspected twice a year by state inspectors, and after the spring inspection, it had been repaired within the last month.

This repair had cost $1000 dollars, town officials revealed, and consisted of replacing planking where it was rotted. About half of the money was spent on materials, the rest on labor.

The bridge will not be replaced until a full examination and report are obtained from the state inspectors. This report, because of the maintenance aid received will have to go through both state and county offices before it comes to the town.

Traffic will be rerouted around Riverside and School streets until the bridge is restored.

William Patenaude, who runs a sewer service firm, said that he was waiting in his car near a job. He had been expecting his son to come with the back shovel. When the boy did not turn up, Patenaude came to investigate and found the accident. He examined the bridge and stated that he thought some of the planking near the end where the truck had gone down was rotten. He said that the truck had started going down about eight feet from the end of the bridge.

June 9, 1964 -- A Brick Building Being Renovated in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Collapses--Three are Hurt.

Initial reports were dire:

Fitchburg Sentinel, Tuesday, June 9, 1964, Page 1.

Building Collapse Traps Shoppers

PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (AP)--A four-story brick building in downtown Parkersburg collapsed shortly before noon today trapping an undetermined number of shoppers and clerks.

There was no immediate report of fatalities.

"It's a catastrophe," said a Parkersburg policewoman handling emergency calls.

The outside of the building was being renovated when the collapse occurred. Workmen were on scaffolding in front of the structure.

The facts became more clear the day after:

Winnipeg Free Press, Wednesday, June 10, 1964, Page 22.

Four Hurt In Building Collapse

PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (AP)--A three-storey brick building collapsed with a roar in downtown Parkersburg but police said there was enough warning to clear the area.

"It started cracking, and we think they got everybody out," said Patrolman R. F. Smith.

The building was being renovated and workmen had spent the morning on a scaffold in front of the structure. They shouted to passers-by and occupants of the building to stand clear when the cracking began.

The building was in the heart of downtown Parkersburg, a city on the Ohio River about 75 miles north of Charleston.

"It's completely levelled (sic)," said Haze Cochran, a Parkersburg resident who viewed the ruins.

Earlier, it was feared the warning had come too late for some occupants.

Police said about four persons suffered minor injuries but fatalities had been nearly ruled out.

Beckley Post-Herald, Wednesday Morning, June 10, 1964, Page 1.

Building Collapse Warning Prevents State Disaster

PARKERSBURG (AP) -- An old three-story brick building in downtown Parkersburg collapsed with a roar Tuesday.

A warning shouted by workmen who were remodeling a restaurant on the ground floor apparently prevented a disaster. Three persons were injured, but only one was admitted to a hospital.

Dan Moore, 51, one of the workmen, said the middle wall of the building buckled. The workmen ran from the restaurant and yelled warnings to passers-by and to people in a shoe repair shop and a record shop, also on the first floor.

Seconds later, the building collapsed in a cloud of dust filling the intersection of Market and Fifth streets with bricks, mortar and other material. Power lines also fell. For a time it was feared that someone might have been trapped, but within an hour authorities determined that everyone had reached safety.

Occupants of apartments on the upper floors of the building either escaped or were away.

Moore said he ran to the corner and saw a woman coming down the street.

"She started into the record shop," Moore said. "I said 'don't go in there. The building is going to give way.' "

He said a bricklayer, Junior Martin, went into the record shop and told the people to get out. Everybody got away seconds before the collapse.

Two city water department employes who were working in the intersection across from the building said they had started to go to lunch and were about two blocks away when they heard the roar of the building tumbling down.

June 9, 1969 -- A Bridge in Bradford County, Pennsylvania Collapses.

The Daily Courier, Connellsville, Pennsylvania, Monday, June 9, 1969, Page 13.

Bradford County Bridge Collapsed By Overloaded Truck

HARRISBURG (UPI) -- The state Highways Department has reported another bridge collapse due to an overloaded vehicle and said the trucker and owner would be held responsible for damages.

The department said here that a crossing on Wappasening Creek, Bradford County gave way under the weight of a 30 ton truck loaded with gravel. The span was posted for 10 tons. The Department noted it was the third such collapse due to an overload in the last two months.

The truck was operated by George T. Tucci, Nichols, N. Y., and owned by J. W. Bishop, Sayre.

State Highways Secretary Robert Bartlett repeated an earlier warning that truckers and owners would face legal action.