Not all roofing can withstand the weight of the water during heavy rains.
A roof collapsed and injured nineteen inmates in a private prison near Lufkin, Texas. According to CNN News (7.19.14), the sheetrock ceiling of one of the prison’s five housing units fell. Ten of the injured Diboll Correctional Center prisoners were taken to hospitals by ambulance, and the other nine were transported as “walking wounded” to area hospitals. The cause of the collapse was unreported. Heavy rainfall may be the cause. Heavy rain can cause a ceiling to collapse. There are a number of other possible causes, as well, including snow and ice buildup, wear and tear of a roof, leaky pipes that weaken the roof, placement of excess weight on the roof, building fires, poor design and improper construction. Lufkin Fire Department Battalion Chief Jesse Moody was quoted by CNN News as saying, “It’s not raining at all today here. We got a lot of rain yesterday. It’s a new building, a new facility. I don’t know why the roof would collapse.” The incident was under investigation. Diboll Correctional Center is managed by Management & Training Corporation (MTC), a private contractor based in Centerville, Utah that manages 22 prisons in eight states, said CNN News. Ceiling and roof collapses may result in catastrophic injury and sometimes death caused by the weight of the debris which falls from an elevated area. Individuals who are injured in a ceiling collapse accident may be entitled to compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. If a loved one is lost in a ceiling collapse accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. Roof failure caused by a buildup of rain, snow or ice is preventable. Regular inspection of roof water drainage systems can identify a water buildup before it becomes a hazard. Also sensors to detect water pooling can be put on the roof. There are also sensors that can detect deflection in the roof support system of some types of roof construction that indicate overloading. Other roof failures may be prevented by increased inspection and the involvement of engineers during the construction phase. A building manager or owner has the responsibility to protect tenants, guests, employees patrons, prisoners and others by making sure the property is maintained and checked for any hazards. The CNN NEWS story cited is “19 injured when Texas prison roof collapses.”