Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Is heat causing buildings to collapse

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OKLAHOMA CITY-- Strange things have been happening to buildings this summer. Some contractors believe the extreme heat is a factor in the recent collapse of some structures.

A business on the 4300 block of N Classen was the first to have damage.

"It was very shocking to me because we've had huge winds and the whole roof had to be done, but nothing has ever happened with the awning," John Sabolich said.

Sabolich owns the building that houses Hanger Prosthetic.

Out of nowhere, thousands of pounds came crashing down when the awning split.   

"It was a decorative wall and not part of the structural integrity of the building," Sabolich said. "The rest is totally intact it. The awning was just applied and retrofitted many years ago and apparently not very well."

According to Sabolich, the nails and screws just gave way.

"I would have much rather seen at least bolts or some steel straps to make that attachment more secure," the new contractor John Joyce said.

Major causes of concern for officers now are assessing the damage and injuries.

"Right now the primary concern is making sure the building is safe for anyone and to secure the area so there are no injuries," David Adcock, Development Center Manager with Oklahoma City, said.

But that wasn't the only building to have a mishap: the top of a business complex in Harrah on the 18000 block of NE 23rd Street came tumbling down too.

Contractor Joel Quinn said he's seen a lot of weird activity with buildings this summer.

"We have seen a lot of cracking, settling in the the ground as well as expansions and contractions. The ground dries up and shrinks up and that will weaken the foundation," Quinn said. "With last year's drought and seismic activity, we believe we've seen problems that we haven't seen typically in buildings."

About 60 people work at Hangar Prosthetics on Classen and the owner said they expect to have the awning fixed over the weekend so employees are able to come back to work on Monday.

There is still no official word on the cause of the collapse at the Harrah business.

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