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Report: North Texas Storms Expose Shoddy Construction

The deadly tornadoes that recently ravaged Dallas/Fort Worth not only took the lives of Texans and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage, they also provided evidence that cutting corners in commercial construction can easily mean the difference between buildings that hold up in severe weather versus those that collapse “like a house of cards" putting the lives of those inside them at great risk.

The Dallas Morning News talked with an engineer who said some of the construction at a local school district in Dallas County was “horrific” from the standpoint of design and building execution:

An engineer who inspected damage across North Texas after Saturday’s deadly tornadoes says he saw “rampant irresponsibleness” in the way many homes and buildings were constructed.

“We saw a tremendous number of improper attachment of the walls to the foundations, which just made walls fall either in or out,” said Timothy Marshall, a forensic engineer and meteorologist who volunteered as part of a damage survey team created by the Fort Worth office of the National Weather Service.

The construction Marshall flagged as faulty included that of a Glenn Heights elementary school that suffered extensive damage.

“We saw problems at [Donald T.] Shields Elementary school that were horrific in my view as an engineer,” Marshall said. “Walls not attached properly, and they’re just falling down like a house of cards.”

Marshall also told the Morning news that he has no doubt students would have been injured or killed if the storm had hit during a school day.