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Ceiling Collapse in Ca. School

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If anyone out there has more information about this incident, I'd appreciate
hearing about it.


Fred Turner, Staff Structural Engineer, California Seismic Safety
Commission, 1755 Creekside Oaks Drive Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95833
916-263-0582 Work Phone, 916-263-0594 Fax fturner(--nospam--at)

Source - LA Daily News.

Guide steers kids clear of collapse
By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer

TUJUNGA -- Moments before a lunch pavilion ceiling collapsed Friday, a
playground director heard creaking and rushed the 11 children in his care to
With no one injured, Ramon Diaz was being hailed as a hero.

"We're very fortunate the playground director was alert to what was
happening around the children," said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman
Jim Wells. "He probably saved the lives of the children."

Officials at Pinewood Avenue Elementary School are unsure why the 50- by
100-foot ceiling collapsed at the school, where hundreds of parents and
children come throughout the summer for free breakfasts and lunches.

About 4 p.m., the 11 children were sitting at tables under the open pavilion
working on crafts with Diaz, who is employed by an organization that
supplies playground staff to schools.

When Diaz heard the ceiling creaking, he told the children to get under the
tables because he thought it might be an earthquake, Wells said.

"They heard a kind of roar," Principal Esther Macias said. "It must have
been a rumbling sound."

Realizing it was not an earthquake, Diaz led the children away from the

Moments later, the ceiling collapsed.

"They had an emergency preparedness drill Thursday," Macias said. "The
children were prepared. They ran and hit the ground."

Macias said she was stunned when she saw the damage.

"You have to see it to believe it," she said. "I was here at 2:30 p.m. and
it was intact. It didn't look like it was going to fall."

Authorities agreed it was very fortunate the ceiling collapsed when it did.
Had it been earlier in the day, hundreds of people could have been injured
or killed.

"We had 300 people here at lunch," Macias said. "There were parents here
with strollers."

The 11 children remained after the lunch ended at 1:30 p.m. to work on
crafts and play.

Macias said she won't know what caused the ceiling to collapse until school
district maintenance officials get through inspecting the damage. No damage
estimates had been made Friday evening.

Macias said the school will be open Monday, but will have to move classes to
bungalow classrooms on the campus. However, the breakfasts and lunches will
not be served until the pavilion is fixed. She didn't know how long that
could be.