Hartford Civic Center Collapse
January 18, 2008 7:43 AM Subscribe
posted by eye of newt (37 comments total)
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It could have been the greatest disaster in US history. On January 18, 1978, 30 years ago today, the 1400 ton 2 1/2 acre roof of the Hartford Civic Center
, covered by a blanket of snow and ice, suddenly and completely collapsed
, damaging almost all of the seats underneath. Just four hours earlier there was a basketball game packed with 5000 fans. Had it collapsed then, many, if not most, of the fans and players could have died.
The roof was designed with help from some of the best civil engineering consultants, universities, and professors in the industry and had a special computer analyzed 'space frame' design
--meant to equally balance the load so that lighter and cheaper material could be used. (Three days later, the space-frame roof of the Long Island University C.W. Post Dome Auditorium (pdf)
collapsed "like a giant cracked eggshell".) Lessons learned.