Report: Freezing & thawing caused walkway to deteriorate, collapse, killing Columbia firefighter

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – The engineering firm hired by the University of Missouri to inspect and determine what caused a walkway to collapse during an apartment fire Saturday morning, released its findings.

Trabue, Hansen and Hinshaw, Inc. determined the walkway at the University Village Apartments, located at 601 Providence Road South in Columbia, was 'significantly deteriorated' when it collapsed, killing Columbia Fire Department Lieutenant Bruce Britt, a 23 year veteran,.

Engineers theorized that the deterioration was a result of freezing and thawing that occurred this winter.

“It is likely that water and chlorides, and expansion from freeze-thaw action, combined to deteriorate the concrete to the point where its shear strength could no longer support even only the self-weight of the walkway. The loud “bang” reported by the residents was probably the sound from the shear failure itself,” the report said.

In addition to the University Village complex, the Owner asked that all of the buildings maintained by Residential Life be visually evaluated as well.

“With respect to conditions that may result in a public safety concern, no instances of items requiring immediate attention were observed. Some general maintenance items were noted”

An exact cause for the collapse had not been determined as inspectors waited for additional information. Surveillance video they hoped to review had not yet been made available.

FOX 4 will have more on the engineering firm's findings on FOX 4 newscasts.

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