Associated Press

MORRILTON, Ark. (AP) — Authorities say a building in a central Arkansas city has collapsed, killing a young girl and injuring at least six other people.

Investigators have not determined what caused the building in downtown Morrilton to collapse Monday.

Conway County Sheriff Mike Smith says rescue teams are searching the wreckage for possible survivors but that he thinks most people escaped. The building housed a beauty parlor.

Christy Hockaday, the CEO of St. Vincent hospital in Morrilton, says one person died and two others are being airlifted to area hospitals. She says one victim is in stable condition at St. Vincent and three others are expected to arrive there soon.

Conway County Sheriff Mike Smith says a young girl was killed. Hockaday declined to identify the person killed.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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There is more than meets the eye with this FFN post. It should serve as a wake up call for other communities in the midwest that have experienced increased seismic activity.

Minimal research revealed recent earthquakes and the building potentially being constructed using non-reinforced masonry construction verses the newer retrofitted or construction types that are more resistant to seismic activity. I am not sure of the time frame in regard to the latest earthquake or the magnitude.

Someone local to the area posted this, "Are there any civil engineers or structural engineers out there who can tell me if the recent swarm of earthquakes could have compromised the integrity of these old buildings? I do know that un-reinforced masonry is the worst kind of construction system for earthquake prone areas."

Local Fox News reported that two buildings collapsed in Morrilton.Arkansas. All survivors have been rescued. A Morrilton newspaper, according to the local Fox affiliate, says one person - a young girl - died in the collapse. The cause of the collapse is not known at this time. The two buildings, according to KATV's assignment editor, Angela Rachels, were a Merle Norman store and Bobby's Creations, a dress shop. Reports now coming in say the girl who was killed was two years old.

For my building construction savy FFN peers, what's your take on the these buildings construction based on these two photographs that document the noon building collapse?

Without more photos/info, I'd venture the following:

Ordinary construction, probably around 100 years old, give or take.

The structure seperated from its neighbors, as these shoulder-to-shoulder Type IIIs are prone to do.

There look to be survivable voids in at least three places on Side A - two of them are obvious and the other is a little subtle.

The Delta exposure has an awning with a hasty shore made from a commercial step ladder - it needs better shoring.

Utility control is important. Stability of the common exposure walls (Charlie and Delta) is probably compromised. Those exposures should be rapidly evacuated. Start with the Delta exposure - the brickwork is damaged and the collapse structure Delta wall seems to be seperating from the exposure wall at the top.

It's difficult to tell, but the Charlie exposure looks to be the stair tower for the collapsed structure. If so, there may be victims in it - stair towers make for lovely, survivable voids.
The building was "undergoing renovation". That's often a code phrase for "We gutted the interior to open it up and didn't realize that we removed so much structural support that the old building fell down."

One more photo and some video are here.

There are some things in the video that are pretty basic for engine companies first due at structural collapses, some basic scene control things that don't seem to be happening, some risk of problems with the excavator, and at least one serious wall shoring problem.

I question using the excavator is there's any chance of another live victim inside the collapse. The video doesn't say if they had occupant PAR or not prior to using the excavator - it's possible they were starting post-rescue debris removal.

There are some survivable voids.

The tech rescue team harnesses are of questionable value unless there are some interior vertical voids we don't know about.

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