September 20th Historical Structural Failures Found in Newspaper Archives - An Engineer's Aspect


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Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20th Historical Structural Failures Found in Newspaper Archives

1883 - Roof Collapses Injuring Three

The Globe Extra, Evening Edition, Thursday, September 20, 1883

Three Men Seriously if not Fatally Injured in Pawtucket This Morning.

(Special Despatch to The Boston Globe.)

PROVIDENCE, September 20.--An accident occurred this forenoon at Pawtucket by which three men were seriously if not fatally injured. A gang of men were employed in gravelling a roof on a new building being erected by the Turkey Red Dyeing Company, when the timbers, which were of light construction, broke, and the roof fell in with a crash, precipitating the men down below. Some of them were struck by the falling timber, and badly injured. Three of them are in a very serious condition. The building was fortunately only one story in height, and was 60 x 70 feet. It is to be used for manufacturing purposes by the above company, to take the place of one that was burned last spring.

1911 - Building Collapses While Under Construction in Connecticut

Olean Evening Times, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 1911.

Hurt in Building Collapse.

Bridgeport, Conn., Sept. 20.--Four men are reported hurt, two of them fatally, in the collapse of a building in course of construction in Main street at 9 o'clock this morning.

1937 - Grandstands Collapse in Philadelphia and Frankford

Chester Times, Chester, Pennsylvania, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 1937, page 11.


World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis appeared in Philadelphia briefly last night, and was the cause of a near panic.

Louis was playing first base for the Joe Louis Bombers, his aggregation of soft-ballers. As the champion strolled down the first base line, a rush for seats in that area began. As result, 12 rows of seats collapsed and five spectators were taken to a hospital.

Later, when Joe stepped to the plate for batting practice, a huge throng of fans, mostly Negroes, swarmed out upon the field. Police tried vainly to clear the diamond, but after an hour's effort, the game had to be postponed until today. It will be played at Municipal Stadium, which has a large seating capacity. Fifty thousand fans swarmed inside and outside, officials said.

Another grandstand collapsed last night under similar circumstances. Three sections of the east stand at Yellowjackets' stadium, Frankford, crashed during a midget auto race. Eleven were cut and bruised in the rush for safety.

1971 - A Three-Story Building Collapses and Kills 23 in Bombay

The Lowell Sun, Monday, Sept. 20, 1971.

Building collapse kills 23 in Bombay

BOMBAY (UPI) -- A 100-year-old, three-story building in the city's dock area collapsed early today, killing 23 persons and injuring 17.

The building's front section collapsed about 4 a.m. while 33 families were asleep inside, police said. They said the structure had been undergoing repairs.

One entire family of six was buried. Members of seven other families were killed or injured. Among the victims were eight women and six girls.

In the past five years 138 persons have been killed in 1,157 house collapses in Bombay, according to Indian records.

A municipal official said 7,000 old and dilapidated structures in the city are on the verge of collapse. He said another 23,000 houses are liable to collapse in the next 15 years.

About 4 million persons, or two thirds of Bombay's 6 million people, live in substandard houses, many of them built at the close of the last century.

1986 - Bridge Collapses in Texas Injuring 2--Hero Saves Many More

Herald-Zeitung, New Braunfels, Texas, Sept. 21, 1986, page 3A.

Two people injured in bridge collapse

BROOKSHIRE (AP) -- A school bus superintendent was severely injured when he drove his car across a collapsed bridge, but he still managed to crawl out of the wreckage and walk nearly half a mile to warn school bus drivers.

Frank Jackson was in fair condition Saturday in the Katy Community Hospital after his Chevrolet Blazer flew into a creek bank Friday and jolted over the side onto a road, nursing supervisor Carole Simon said.

The Royal Independent School District superintendent suffered facial lacerations and a bruised heart and lung, hospital officials said.

The bridge apparently collapsed just before Jackson attempted to cross it in darkness at about 6 a.m., state troopers said.

The 50-foot-long bridge, within sight of the Royal High School and junior high, supported high volumes of traffic in and out of the schools.

Jackson, covered with blood managed to get out of the Blazer, and start walking to warn bus drivers not to cross the bridge.

He was leaning against a stop sign when the district's transportation director, David Alexander, spotted him.

"He said, 'I feel pretty good now but I just had an accident,'" Alexander recalled. "'The bridge is out just before the school here. Run down and make sure nobody comes through.'"

Alexander then went to the scene where he discovered a car already had careened across what was left of the bridge, he said.

However, the driver wasn't seriously hurt and helped direct traffic away from the scene, including the first bus carrying four students.

The creek bed was littered with broken concrete and timber as officials tried to determine why the late-1940s bridge broke.

A state report in November 1985 showed the structure was in good enough shape to support 15 tons, the state's minimum legal load for bridges.

"This one was one of the better bridges in the county," Walter County Road Superintendent Donald Mathis said.

He speculated a load far in excess of the 15 tons caused the collapse.

1987 - Office Building Collapses in China Killing 39

The Hawk Eye, Sunday, September 20, 1987, page 2A.

39 killed in building collapse

A newly built three-story office building collapsed into a lake in Hunan province, China, killing 39 people, the official People's Daily newspaper reported.

The newspaper said a loud explosion was heard as the building collapsed, but did not give any details. Two local officials were suspended from their posts pending an investigation, it said.

The accident took place in Yuan Jiang county, about 810 miles south of Beijing.

1996 - Alabama Bridge Being Dismantled Collapses Killing 2

The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Sept. 21, 1996.

Bridge collapse kills 2

ECLECTIC, Ala. -- A bridge that had been closed for three years because of safety problems collapsed Friday, killing two state workers who were dismantling the structure.

The Old Kowaliga Bridge was replaced with a new span in 1971 and converted into a fishing pier. The state closed it to fishing three years ago and began taking it apart recently because its pilings had deteriorated, said Ray Bass, chief engineer for the Department of Transportation.

2004 - Bridge Collapses in Sinking Valley

The Daily Herald, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004.

Bridge collapse in Sinking Valley

Lending a helping hand

Yesterday, workers in Sinking Valley had to pull a dump truck from the rubble after a bridge collapsed. The bridge provided access to the building where the township houses equipment. There are also a few Amish farms that use the bridge, but another road still provides access. (The Daily Herald/Amanda Golden)