TSG Performs Emergency Work after West Orange Public Library Façade Collapses
February 6, 2015
On Thursday, January 29, 2015, The Shauger Group’s (TSG’s) emergency response team was called into action after a partial collapse of the brick façade of the West Orange Public Library’s Edison wing, which was constructed in 1979. The collapse occurred in the early afternoon, with TSG responding on-site within fifteen minutes of being called to handle the emergency work.
No one was injured in the collapse, which ultimately resulted from the failure of aged concrete beneath the façade.
With safety being the first priority, TSG worked closely with the police and fire department personnel on the scene to quickly and efficiently deal with the situation. An immediate evacuation took place to ensure there was no potential risk to those in the library, and the perimeter of the library was roped off to seal the area.
Two cars experienced substantial damage from the collapse, so the Township of West Orange Township made arrangements to bring in a towing company. TSG worked alongside Select Towing to successfully remove the cars from the scene.
All other cars still parked in the lot were cleared out of the cordoned-off area.
TSG worked through the night to clean up the collapsed brick and to remove all brick remaining on the affected section of the building. Crews worked until approximately 4:00 a.m. on January 30th before the initial phase of emergency work was completed.
Temporary fencing was installed the following day, in a continued attempt to keep safety top priority and to prevent people, especially young kids, from wandering into the restricted zone. Emergency exits and passages were maintained, as required by local fire code.
With a significant amount of snowfall anticipated for Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st, TSG worked quickly to temporarily weatherproof the building in advance of the onset of the snowstorm.
The Township of West Orange conducted an investigation into the cause of the collapse and concluded that the Edison wing’s façade failed due to stressed and fatigued steel supports in the aging concrete. As a result, the Township moved ahead with plans for TSG to continue its emergency work by immediately tearing down all remaining brick on the façade in order to eliminate any possibility of further failure. After doing so, TSG then proceeded to weatherproof the building using an ice and water shield mechanically adhered to allow for future removal before rebuild.
TSG’s readily available array of over 200 company-owned vehicles and equipment contributed to the speed with which TSG was able to respond at the site and perform necessary work. TSG was able to immediately provide equipment, including excavators, Bobcats, compressors, emergency lights, and jackhammers, to the site.
Two 80-foot lifts were also brought in to assist with operations and to facilitate the removal of the remaining façade.
Within 24 hours of the collapse, library operations were able to return to normal, with the exception of a few minor adjustments. Extra measures were taken to ensure safe passage into and out of the building. Due to obstructed access to the existing book drop boxes, which are typically housed directly below the Edison wing overhang, a library book return box was placed at the end of the walkway by the adjacent public parking lot.
No concerns exist with the structural integrity of the building. At the present, the Township of West Orange is still examining the best future course of action with the respect to the restoration of the building’s exterior. The Township hopes to have a decision in the coming weeks.