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Strong Winds Knock Down 1,500-Pound Business Sign


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Strong Winds Knock Down 1,500-Pound Business Sign

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PHARR — Strong winds from Tuesday night’s storms knocked down a business sign, snapping a power pole in half. The alert about the fallen sign came from an unexpected source.

While many slept soundly in their homes, Joe Gonzalez was looking for shelter under a restaurant’s canopy.

“Being homeless like that, I get to see things that normal people don't get to see,” he said.

Gonzalez witnessed the business sign rock back and forth and then plummet to the ground. He’s formed connections with managers along the business district in Pharr.

Regional Church’s Chicken facilities services manager Noel Pena said, “People let him use properties all over the city, and I’m sure if you talk to Stripes, he probably has some connection with them or something."

Gonzalez sprang into action after seeing the sign fall.

“I went over to Stripes to call 911. Of course, it was raining fierce,” he said.

Pena said it was strong winds that knocked down the 1,500-pound sign.

“A lot of those signs were not built for that kind of wind load,” said Jason Arms, City of Pharr emergency management coordinator. “According to the power company, we did get a report that there was short circuit in the main trunk line, and that does tie into that system, so it could be related.”

Gonzalez said he’ll continue to keep an eye on the sky and watch for storms. He said he’ll be ready to respond again, if needed.

Arms said the winds that ripped through the city were between 60 and 80 miles per hour. Crews are working to put up new poles and wires. The business sign will also go back up.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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I agree on this one, then base /anchor bolts should be checked.

A lot of people will take a small sign and install a larger one without taking stoack on the engineering requirements.

Here we engineer at 30#/sq in with that kind of wind load happening once in a 100 years

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Looks like it was a high rise and the welds on the cap ring must have failed! Probably no plug welds either.

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Agree, no way it would come down with two clean rings like that, pole would have cracked or bent. I'd like to see the top of the first section of pole.

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Agree, no way it would come down with two clean rings like that, pole would have cracked or bent. I'd like to see the top of the first section of pole.

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WOW! Old Mother Nature can do all kinds of things to signs, huh? Think you are probably correct, Boo Hodges!!! That's what skimping corners will do for you.

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I went looking for a google street view of the Church's Chicken sign in Pharr, Tx. Wow. They love their Church's. goo.gl/5ypC7F


I eventually found it: goo.gl/fal2w7



Geez, that's a lot of Church's Chicken restaurants....that's pretty wicked retarded. They are like 3 blocks from each other. Guess they're emulating Starbucks.




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From the google street view it looked overloaded. However an additional inside ring would have probably prevented this from happening. I imagine the plug welds broke loose first which allowed it to move slightly, which put a constant back and forth on the top ring which eventually broke loose and then a banging back and forth probably several feet until it split the second stage pipe and allowed it to fall.

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This type of construction is rarely done here in Ontario Canada, I have installed American sign shipped to me like this. Usuall hire a certifield welder to do the plug welds. But agree with the rest of the forum.

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I would like to see a different view of the sign from the other side. From this photo, it appears the rings are at the bottom (but I doubt it). Our company builds signs much larger than this one & we build them for 90 MPH wind load. A 60 mile per hour wind should not have caused this type of failure.

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A great example of why the 3 ring method is the way to go. I would agree with the earlier guesses and say there were no plug welds and the top ring was not welded by a certified welder. If the top welds fail on the 2 ring method this can happen (splitting the base pipe), but with the 3 ring method the sign would likely just rotate in the wind until someone noticed.

Look at the weld spec for engineered plugs compared to what you find out in the field. Others could end up like this one when bubble gum is holding the top ring to the base pipe and inspectors don't require "special inspection" of field welds.

Hope some young Project Managers take note that this is how the low bidder gets the welding done so fast.

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May not be seeing right because of photo but look at the length of the pole above rings as well as the short distance between the two rings. It doesn't look right. Almost like length of pole above rings could create so much leverage that small space between rings could never have handled any weld problem. Seen jobs in field where all welds went bad (junk welds) but sign would have to be pulled up by wind out of sign or bottom pole wall thickness would have to give for this to happen. In this case looks like bad welds and leverage caused by spacing and placement of rings could have created enough leverage that any standard or heavy gauge wall thickness might not be enough.

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