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Retaining wall Exposed to Fire

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Michelle,

If this is a basement type of wall and the barn collapsed into the basement, 
then the wall could have been subjected to a considerable amount of heat for 
a considerable time.

Techniques that I have use to evaluate cmu fire damage, in addition to those 
you mentioned is to look for "pop outs" in the cmu.  These are small cone 
shaped depressions in the cmu where aggregate just below the surface has 
expanded and popped the face off of the block.  Similarly, in mortar joints, 
I have raked them with a screwdriver to determine if they were similarly 
affected by the fire.

Tapping the wall with a hammer will also detect delaminations that are not 
visible or apparent.

With respect to the anchor bolts, what I have seen is longitudinal cracking 
at the bolt location where expansion of the bolt has tried to split the wall 
in half.

Short of load testing the wall, evaluation involves a lot of judgement on 
what you see, what you know, what you can research.

Good luck,

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

Michelle Kam-Biron wrote:

. > Hello Everyone!!!
. > 
. > I hope you all had a great time during the holidays!  I know it was hard 
. > for me to come back to work J .
. > 
. > Our company has been asked to check out a masonry block retaining wall 
. > that was exposed to firm. I haven't been to the site but according to the 
. > client, portions of the retaining wall supported a wood framed barn which
. > caught on fire. The barn was completely destroyed by the fire.  The owner 
. > would like us to evaluate the structural integrity of the retaining wall,
. > which he says was compromised by the fire.
. > 
. > Aside from having a material testing lab actually test the wall, I know 
. > there are some visual characteristics that would suggest damage such as:
. > spauling and discoloration of the block and bent anchor bolts. Does 
. > anyone have any other suggestions for what to look for?
. > 
. > Have a great day!!!
. > 
. > Thanks,
. > 
. > Michelle Kam-Biron, S.E.
. > Ventura, CA
. >