Weird Failures

Caution: Falling Snow – Don’t Stand Here

Weird, Humorous and “Strange But True” Failures

The Lighter side of failures:  We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried.

When did you say we would have a paperless office???  Hope they checked the floor capacity or this is a failure waiting to happen.  “VA’s backlog of paper claims could cause a building collapse”  37,000 files on top of the ones in the filing cabinets!

Giant Inflatable Beach Slide blows away: The engineering lesson here is that the Resisting Moment was less than the Overturning Moment.  Either that or keep it full of kids.  Courtesy of one of our alert readers.

House Crashers: Pennsylvania couple tired of cars crashing into and damaging their house.  Four total incidents – three within six months.

Fire-hydrant gusher collapses gas station canopy.  The really weird thing is that this is not the first collapse of this type we have seen!  See Drowned Dresses – 11/19/09 below.

Concrete “lava” floods cafe inside the Le Parker Meridien hotel.  Construction accident leaves over a foot of concrete in some places.

Giant Badgers threaten to undermine retaining walls, houses and even a parking garage.  They create massive tunnels but are protected.  Residents fear homes might collapse.

Houses in Detroit suddenly explode and collapse for no reason…or should we say no good reason.

Crooks trying to pull the metal awning-type shutters off the side of an unoccupied building cause a partial collapse.

Metal scavengers pulled parts of the primary framing causing a roof to collapse in Modesto.  Never mind that the building is suspected to contain plenty of toxic waste.  File this one with the companion story of more than 40 manhole covers stolen in Reno (scrappers suspected)

400,000 Gallon Water Tank Collapses in Wilmington, MA.  Wall of water caught on security camera of adjacent building.  Video no longer available.
Did you call for a delivery?  Pepsi truck slams into an apartment building in McKeesport, PA causing structural damage.  Emergency crews worked to prevent building collapse.  Eighteen families displaced but none hurt.  Some residents thought it was an earthquake.

Save the controlled demolition effort.  A section of the 111 year-old 8th Street Bridge at Wyoming, PA across the Susquehanna River scheduled for demolition collapsed by itself.  Speculation of the cause of failure centered on weakening due to demolition of the first half of the bridge in July, 2011 and the record high waters of the Sysquehanna on September 9 when the river reached a crest of 42.6 feet.

Woman survives serious ceiling collapse while sitting under a salon hair dryer…oblivious to the event until the fire rescue team arrives.  She credits the hairdryer as acting like a “crash helmet”.

Balcony collapses after SUV runs into apartment…and don’t forget about the gas leak.

Crane drops new pool on house.  We thought it was going to be the chimney but wait for the surprise ending!  (Coarse language in video)

Failure by Design?    Troubled Xanadu Meadowlands project declared one of the ugliest buildings ever by Gov. Christie of NJ and separately by a panel of architecture critics assembled by the New York Times.

The Marshall Islands’ national gymnasium has been closed following the collapse of a portion of its roof through termite damage. 6-30-2011

Speeding truck hits and collapses two sections of  fire department building roof.  Man charged with DUI.

Man Glued to Toilet Seat needs to be extracted.  Failure or prank gone wrong?  4/7/11

Store floods from rain after burgler cuts hole in roof but is foiled by concrete.

Building damaged by snow is ignited by worker’s cutting torch during demo / rebuild destroying building and all contents.

Men “scrapping metal” aparently remove too much causing a roof collapse that traps one one of them in the building  in Cleveland. 3/5/2011

Vegas “Death Ray“:  Reflective glass focusing the sun into a powerful beam creating hot spots so intense it is disrupting hotel guests and even melting plastic bags and cups.  Reported by alert BFF reader.  9/30/2010  See also this collection of stories on the same topic from the Las Vegas “Sun”

Pantyhose filled with ice pellets:  Ice Dam clearing technique. 2/28/2011

Roof collapse fails to stop Chili day celebration in Springfield.  2/27/2011

2000 # block of ice collapses motel roof – Attack of the 40′ long ice block.  2/16/2011

Collapse by Snowblower – Workers trying to prevent a collapse of a Boston area building indavertently caused a partial collapse by blowing all the snow to one spot.  2/11/2011

Man Sleeps Through Roof Collapse:  Firefighters responding to a roof collapse due to snow find a Massachusetts man still asleep in his bedroom.  1/3/2011

Hercules the dog alerts owners just prior to collapse of garage roof. 1/30/2011

Roof Collapse Blamed on Bird Droppings:  “It’s definitely compromised” noted the local fire chief.  1/26/11   For a historical perspective on the same topic, see a similar roof collapse case from 2003 in Santiago Chile.

Bungling Raiders Miss Cash Machine but Cause Roof to Collapse 5/29/10 Liverpool Echo

FedEX van almost takes out a house. 12/22/09: Maybe we will have to add moving vehicles to ASCE 7.

Drowned Dresses – San Diego, 11/19/09: ” A Major Bridal Bummer” – Sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon feature; Car hits fire hydrant. Hydrant starts a geyser that shoots onto the air and collects on the flat roof of a wedding dress boutique store. Water ponds, overloads and collapses a section of the roof destroying hundreds of designer gowns.

Insects Flatten Building– Baltimore, 11/19/09:  “Insects Partly to Blame for Floor Collapse” – In a case of Termites Gone Wild, two workers were removing the roof of a row-house to start an addition when the entire building collapsed leaving the plumbing as the only thing above ground. Both workers survived. (Although we never want to make light of anyone’s injuries, this case also appears to follow the cartoon imagery of the Drowned Dresses article.)  Sorry, the full link is no longer available.

Over 200,000 bats residing in their own specially built house at the University of Florida caused a partial collapse primarily due to their sheer numbers in August of 2009.