The cause of the collapse of a building in the historic center of La Porte has been determined

LAPORTE — Experts have determined what they believe caused the partial collapse of an empty three-story building in downtown La Porte.
Structural changes in the early 1900s caused the first third of the building to collapse on the night of 26 October.
The roughly 150-year-old building on the 700 block of Lincoln Road originally consisted of three separate buildings, LaPorte City engineer Nick Minich said. According to Minich, the ground floors of each building were later connected together by removing load-bearing brick walls. The walls that supported the structure were replaced with steel columns and beams.
The result is more space for Lows, a popular clothing store that closed some 40 years ago.
Minik said the work was solid, but the way the building’s weight is distributed has changed.
He said that the weight load moved forward a bit, which made it easier for the part to break down over time.
Exactly what rupture or displacement caused the collapse is unclear, Minich said, but the usual effects of age could increase the weight-related stress on that part of the building.
“Determining the cause of the failure is almost impossible, but we know that it has something to do with the reconstruction that was carried out many years ago,” he said.
The building is being renovated to house shops on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors, officials said.
Luckily, no one was in or past the building at the time of the collapse, sending streams of bricks onto the east and west lanes of the street.
In response, city officials are developing a plan to prevent another collapse.
Mayor Tom Dermody said it was too early to know the mechanism, but it could include grants and other revenue streams. He said the money would help owners pay for inspections of their buildings and fix any major problems.
However, Munnich said he was not aware of any other buildings that were joined together as partly destroyed.
“We are thinking about trying to create something, a voluntary program that will help people feel at ease,” Minik said.

Post time: Nov-11-2022