Structural Fatigue Eyed in Fatal Awning Collapse

Wise County teen killed when heavy overhang dropped from building

An engineer's preliminary report suggests structural fatigue caused the collapse of a heavy awning that killed a Bridgeport teenager  Tuesday.

Bridgeport spokeswoman Amber Fogelman cautioned the report is not final. But engineers who have inspected the damage for the city have concluded the building’s age also was likely a factor, she said.

The building was built in the 1960s, she said.

The large metal overhang collapsed Tuesday afternoon, just as two high school seniors were running under it while practicing for their school cross-country team.

Leslie Denison, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her friend, Rebeka Logan, also 17, was injured.

An engineer not involved in the investigation agreed fatigue over time was a likely cause.

"Deterioration is a result of weathering,” said Frank Neal, of Fort Worth. "It looks like the masonry --- the brick and the block -- that was supporting the awning, looks like it gave way."

Something as simple as rainwater rusting the bolts could have caused the failure, he said.

"There's no reinforcement or nothing in here to hold it together if it wants to crack," Neal said, pointing to a photo of the accident.

He warned similar awnings should be checked to see if they are safe.

"Any one that is of this type of construction and of this age is deserving of some kind of an inspection,” he said.

Contact Us