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Overcooked Precast — Collapse Investigation and Repairs
Length: 51 Minutes


On August 9, 2019, Tyson Foods' Holcomb, Kansas beef plant experienced the first large fire in the meat processing industry in nearly 20 years. The long-burning fire precipitated the collapse of a portion of the high roof over the mechanical mezzanine, which housed equipment for numerous critical plant processes. This took portions of the plant, the second largest in the United States, out of operation for months. The pressures of substantial business interruption costs, as well as the market consequences for cattle feeders from the Southern Plains region, necessitated a rapid response. This presentation highlights the investigation into the extent of damage to precast members, including visual inspection, nondestructive and laboratory evaluations, testing, simulation, and analyses. Based on this investigation, members were identified for repair or removal and replacement. Consulting and construction observations related to the safe removal of collapse debris and repair procedures will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand basic concepts related to the material effects to concrete and steel wire exposed to high heat during a fire.
  2. Understand the structural implications of precast members exposed to high heat for an extended period of time.
  3. Learn laboratory testing and simulation methods that can be used to evaluate the extent of heat effect.
  4. Understand demolition and constructability challenges encountered.

Dr. Thomas M. Frankie, Senior Associate, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc

Dr. Thomas Frankie, SE, is Senior Associate at WJE. He is a licensed structural engineer who specializes in the assessment of structures compromised due to failure, accident, natural disaster, or material degradation. Since joining WJE in 2013, Dr. Frankie has investigated reinforced concrete-related problems including corrosion for numerous structures ranging from historic and modern buildings, bridges, stadiums, industrial facilities, parking garages, cooling towers, seawalls, pavements, and foundations. He has applied advanced field and laboratory investigation techniques to hundreds of unique projects. In addition to ICRI, his professional affiliations include the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), among others. 

Daniela Mauro, WJE Associates

Daniela Mauro is a Senior Associate and Petrographer in the Janney Technical Center Laboratory of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates. She specializes in the evaluation, investigation, and characterization of construction materials with a focus on concrete, mortar, aggregate, stone, and masonry materials. Ms. Mauro has been involved with hundreds of projects regarding construction materials-related problems, and utilizes optical microscopy, electron microscopy, and analytical testing to aid in her investigations.


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