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The collapse of a portion of this building, while in course of construction, brought death to a dozen workmen.
HE collapse of a portion of The building is in the form of a great the Bixby Hotel at Long letter H, the bar of the letter facing the Beach, Cal., one of the ocean to the south and the foothills to the largest reinforced con- north. The entire structure is of reincrete buildings in the forced concrete construction, with steel
country, has stemmed for supports imbedded in the concrete mass. a moment the tide of cement construc- Five stories were completed and cetion and proved a mine of contention ment was being poured into the molds of among builders and architects through- the floor above, when, without warning out the country.
the west bar of the letter H fell to the Below the old port of Wilmington, and ground, carrying down a score of worka scant score of miles from Los Angeles, men, a dozen of whom are dead. It was is the beach city, whose attractive homes morning and scores of workmen were and shining sands have made Long busy about the building. The first warnBeach one of the storm centers of the ing was a gentle sagging of the fifth real estate boom which has been sweep- floor, followed by a sharp snapping of ing eastern gold into Southern Cali- steel rods, and the crash of this floor fornia. The little town grew from ham- upon the floor below. This floor in turn let to city in a night, and at once aspired gave way beneath the load, and the whole to the dignity of an opera house and a mass gaining weight and impetus crashed half million dollar hotel.
through to the basement. The hotel, the Bixby, was built “be- The unfortunate men who went down tween the sun and moon upon the sands," with the wreck were so deeply covered a vast and attractive hostelry, destined to by masses of concrete and steel that the add to the fame of the American Riviera. recovery of their bodies was a long and difficult task. Out of the cloud of dust The jury failed to find any criminal liathat hung for hours over the tragic scene bility, the evidence tending to show that has issued a storm of invective and accu- eighteen days might be considered time sation, criticism and discussion, which is for the proper curing of cement in ornot yet laid. Cement men rushed to the dinary cases. The contractor is inclined defense of the architects and engineers to think that his work was well and and laid the blame upon the builder. properly done, and that the break was Brick men and many engineers laid the caused by shifting of the base columns fault at the door of the engineers, and which rest in ocean sand not far from still the discussion goes on.
high water. The architect is just as posiThe floor which fell was eighteen days tive that the base columns did not shift old and the forms and temporary sup
and that the cement work was faulty. ports had been removed. It was of six A local architect who has had wide exinch tiles overlaid with two inches of perience in similar work gives as his reinforced cement and had spans of opinion that “Evidence is conclusive that eighteen feet. The specified load was the disaster is due to insufficient supports forty pounds to the square inch and the for the form work while the cement was other floors had been tested to 240 being deposited in the forms. At the pounds.
time of the collapse the concrete was The coroner's jury of Los Angeles being deposited in the roof beams and County has found that the cause of the slabs. The temporary supports gave way, death of the workmen was the falling of precipitating the whole mass with a tercement work, caused by the premature rific impact upon the floor below. This removal of part of the timbers supporting was only six days old but the forms had the fifth floor, and proceeding with the already been removed. The fifth floor construction of the roof before the sup- gave way and the mass crashed with porting cement beneath was properly set. double impact upon the next floor below
This broke down, and in succession each "The legs for supporting the wet confloor below gave way beneath a load crete were small and placed directly on which was quadrupling. It was so tre- the shallow tiles; the weight and shock mendous that no construction could have incident to tamping proved too much for withstood it. I see nothing in a hasty the tile, which gave way and precipitated examination to indicate that there was the load on the floors below, which were any serious fault in the design of the unable to withstand the sudden shock work or in the quality of the material. I and, consequently, collapsed. Had the am of the opinion, however, that the work been monolithic and properly reinamount of the reinforcement and its forced the collapse would not have occurplacement are open to discussion. I be- red. This is plainly proven by the fact lieve that the responsibility for the fail- that the corridor floor at the first story, a ure lies with the contractor and the en- monolithic, reinforced floor, is unbroken, gineers who are responsible for the although it withstood the full impact of design and execution of the work.” the falling beams. From such examina
A contractor, however, is inclined to tion as I could give I cannot say whether place the blame upon the system of con- the materials used were good or bad." struction. He says: “It seems that the When the mass of wreckage is cleared construction is quite mongrel in char- away it will be possible to determine acter, being a combination of hollow tiles which of the many views of the cause and concrete, and not reinforced concrete of the disaster is the correct one, and as a whole. Such reinforcement as was who is responsible for the loss of life and used was of an entirely inadequate pro- property. The hotel company has deportion to the requirements and was cided to rebuild the destroyed portion wholly without reinforcement over the with all possible speed and the ruins are hollow tiles, the supports for which were fast disappearing. Public opinion will evidently removed before the cement was not condemn the use of concrete on the perfectly set.
strength of one such disaster.
THANK God for the
In spite of life's troubles, I say ;
Because of the clouds to-day.
And this is the lesson to me-
Face cares with a song, and they flee,
The men stand by the conveyor, and sort the material as it is slowly carried past them.
of street 000 pounds of all sorts of odds and ends, cleaners is hard at work drive up to the plant daily. There, comin New York City, gather- mences a thorough sorting and distributing up every bit of rub- ing of the refuse. Picturesque sons of bish and making the Italy swarm the sorting rooms, where
streets as spick and span they gather around the long slides down as a ship's deck. These workers are a which the rubbish passes to the great municipal staff, and they are employed furnaces, eagerly snatching out buttons, by the city not only for hygienic pur- rags, and other odds and ends which they poses but chiefly for economic reasons. deem valuable. For these prizes they They save the city many thousands of pay the city so much a pound as "rags, dollars a year by supplying fuel for a and many queer’things are stowed away large electric lighting plant.
in their linsey woolsey bags. OccasionalThis is the first time that rubbish has ly an old coat or vest or a disreputable been systematically collected and used as purse slips along the trough, and is fuel; and the big plant where the work quickly snatched out by an alert watcher is done, located at Tompkins and De
who has visions of riches tucked away lancey streets, is attracting general in- in pockets or in the compartments of the terest.
purse. These dreams
are sometimes Hundreds of carts, each carrying 1,- realized, for both money and jewels at rare intervals are swept into the city's belt, which allows the rags, paper, and huge heaps of rubbish and filthy garbage. wood in all forms to be passed slowly All day long a stream of wagons and of in front of the gang of pickers who resorters passes in and out of the yards movė all rags and similar refuse. The of this incinerator, and all day long the remaining rubbish, largely of combustible workers are rapidly separating the com- nature, then passes to a small sorting bustible from the non-combustible, feed- space, where the non-combustible matter, ing the huge furnaces with the former such as cans, bottles, wire springs, etc., is and disposing of the latter in various removed. The final sorting space is imways.
mediately adjacent to the furnace doors, Previous to the construction of the through which the combustible material present plant and a smaller incinerator is passed at a regular rate independent at Forty-seventh street, this material was of the demands for steam by the electrtic disposed of by dumping it into the sea light plant.
or placing it as filler on low land. It is There are two furnaces, each of which estimated that the disposal in this man- is equipped with a top, side, and end ner has cost 30 cents per cubic yard, and doors. One of the furnaces is conthat the incinerator, treated simply as a structed with a single combustible chammeans of destroying the rubbish, will ef- ber and an ash-pit; while the other is fect a saving of $10,000 per year. of the two-story type, being supplied
Features of particular interest in con- with two sets of grates, one above the nection with this novel plant are the con- other, and a lower ash-pit. The side struction and operation of the furnace, doors have been provided for the purpose and the means employed in handling the of removing any non-combustible maunusual fuel. The fuel-conveyor serves terial that might pass unnoticed into to elevate the rubbish from the dumping the furnace through the top doors. Bulky place of the street cleaner to the stoke- rubbish, such as furniture, etc., is fed holes of the furnaces. The convevor through the end doors. consists of an engine-driven, linked iron Each furnace is operated entirely dis