Jackson, MI Building Collapse, Oct 1956





Jackson, Mich. (UP) -- Seven separate investigations, several already underway, were promised to determine the cause and responsibility
for the death of 10 men in the collapse of a four-story building under construction.
Two University of Michigan professors, Leo M. Legatski and Glenn L. Alt, both specialists in civil engineering and building structures, arrived in connection with a contractors' investigation.
The engineering educators said they would take concrete core samples later to find out if charges of "green concrete" or poor quality concrete are justified.
Six bodies are still buried in the tangle of steel and concrete.
State Police Capt. Forest White said the fire marshal's division of state police would investigate the disaster, and listed these other investigations also planned:
A legislative committee probe headed by State Rep. Wilfred G. Bassett of Jackson County; investigation by the insurance companies involved;
by the contractors; by the city of Jackson building department, and by Consumers Power Co., building owners.
The announcement of the investigations came on the heels of charges by Jackson Fire Chief Harold Crawford, director of rescue operations, and workmen charged "green concrete" was the cause of the collapse.
They said forms were taken off concrete floors and work continued on higher stories within a few days, before the concrete hardened. Main contractor Frank Herlihy, Chicago, said this wasn't so, that each floor had weeks to "set" before the next floor went up.
Rescue work was suspended early this morning while pillars and beams which could injure rescuers were pulled or knocked down. Just before the suspension of operations, four bloody helmets were found in a basement corner.
To reports the building was designed to withstand atomic attack, Walter C. Schmidt, construction superintendent for Consumers Power Co., said:
"There was a small room in the basement built to withstand atomic attack. It was to house the power distribution center in case of an atomic bomb attack. But that was all."
A plumber who escaped from the basement and whose father was killed in the thunderous four-story collapse, said failure to allow the concrete to set was the cause.
The plumber, GEORGE BERRY, JR., said, "My father is in that building now because of it."
"That was no accident," BERRY said. "It was murder."
BERRY said that forms were removed in three or four days from 10 1/2 inches of cement poured into the floors in the partially completed office building which collapsed and trapped the workers Wednesday.
"Cement poured that recently is green cement and it is never safe," BERRY said.
Three hundred rescue workers dug throughout the night for six of the bodies still buried in the tons of steel and concrete which poured in the building's basement.

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1956 consumer power blding disaster.

I made a trip to consumer power in 1991, to see the sight that my grandfather died at, where my grandmother waited to hear of her husbands (68) fate, not willing to give up hope, she sat their until my father, mother and uncle made her leave to get some rest. She had a massive heart attack when she got word, she lived out the rest of her life frail and heart broken literally til christmas eve 1972, alone. My father lived out the rest of his life afraid to get too close to his own family, and did not talk about it .Growing up I remember very few words with my dad. I had made this trip from Texas to Michigan, only to find that there was not only no memorial marker of any size or kind, but that the people working in the new building did not even know where the actual site was, or that it even happened, so here goes another broken heart away from parnall rd.

Resided at 2240 Parnel

My father was asleep in his backyard in his hammock and was awakened by the collapse. It was a hot October day. He stated that: it took a couple days to get all the victims out. Consumers stopped meter employees from going across the driveway to lend assistance. His mother and father ran down the road and observed prison trustees being brought down from Southern Michigan Prison to dig in the rubble with their hands in attempts to rescue any survivors. Many resources were called in to assist such as, red cross, National Guard, local Dr's, etc.
It was over a year before the building sight was cleared for rebuild. The building was scaled back from the original 12-14 floors to the 7-8 that it is now.
This disaster made national headlines.
Several lawsuits were initiated, but not sure of the outcomes.

He also says he remembers reports of men on the top of the structure riding down as it collapsed, then stepping off at ground level.

Sorry about your dad.

1956 building collapse

My father was one of the men that died in this accident and I would like more information on this, I was only 3 years old at the time and my family never talk about this accident.