Unreinforced Masonry Homes Collapse and Kill People During Earthquakes

by Robert John Stevens, October 5, 2016

Most people don’t think much about the dangers of un-reinforced masonry homes and buildings.

My Italian grandparents were lucky to survive the Messina, Italy earthquake of 1908 which struck at 5:20 a.m. on December 28, 1908 and killed 50% of the citizens of Messina.

Relatives told me my grandmother who was a young girl at the time, was lying next to her grandmother asleep in bed. They lived nearby in the town of Villa San Giovanni. A beam crashed and killed her grandmother. My grandmother awoke and ran out of the house. My mother said it was terrifying for her mother who didn’t want to speak about the earthquake but did say the ground opened up as she ran.

The Messina, earthquake photos show massive rubble and devastation.

See also BYU prof one of four in U.S. invited to Italy quake sites for drone reconnaissance.

165,000 unreinforced brick buildings in Utah will cause about 55 percent of deaths in an earthquake

Geologic records show a 7.0-magnitude quake occurs along the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch fault about every 1,300 to 1,500 years. The last one occurred about 1,400 years ago. It’s not a matter of if, but when the next “sleeping giant” will wake, experts say.

Carey said there are about 165,000 unreinforced brick buildings in the state, which would cause about 55 percent of deaths in an earthquake.

Government’s Role is Not to Protect People Against Themselves

This is an old article but provides wonderful evidence of the improper role of government.

He said new construction still is allowed, but anyone who wants to build must first prove there is no movement on their lot and, second, present a strong engineering design that can handle the forces of nature.

“We try to protect people from themselves,” Jones said. — Owners see their dream homes go slowly downhill