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Reconnaissance of the Elks Lodge Building Collapse, 2006

A three-story unreinforced brick building in Clinton, MO, collapsed on June 26, 2006 causing one fatality. The building was built in the 1880s. Two NIST structural engineers visited the collapse site on June 29, 2006. The NIST engineers inspected the collapsed building. They met with the city mayor, the city administrator, and a building official of Clinton to obtain relevant building information and available records. They were informed by the building official that drawings of the collapsed building are not available as the building was constructed in the 1880s. The NIST engineers also obtained general information regarding the occupancy, the history of the building, and the collapse from Clinton emergency responders, structural engineers retained by the insurance companies that underwrote policies for the Elks Lodge building and an adjacent pharmacy building, as well as eye witnesses and a survivor who was on the second floor of the building at the time of collapse.

Based on the evidence, the failure was judged to be unique to this particular building, which was over 100 years old. Based on visual and photographic evidence, it was likely that moisture led to significant deterioration of the lime-based mortar joints. This likely led to the loss of the bearing capacity of the west wall resulting in the collapse of the Elks Lodge building. As such, and given the age and type of construction of the building, no further structural investigation was warranted. 

Details are available in the report, "A Summary of Reconnaissance of the Clinton, MO Elks Lodge Building Collapse on June 26, 2006."

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Eric Letvin