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RE: Blast Resistant Building Design for

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Probably nothing close to what you are talking about, but a number of years 
ago I had the opportunity to observe the results of energy dissipation from 
an explosion.  At about this time of the year, a tenant came home to her 
first floor end apartment in a two story wood frame apartment building, put 
her baby on the sofa, and went to fix supper on her gas stove.  WHAMO!  The 
end bearing wall of the apartment blew completely out.  Second floor 
apartment sagged (redundancy).  Mother and baby survived.  No fire resulted.

The walls between apartments were bearing walls and second floor framing was 
longitudinal.  Builder left out fire blocking between floor joists at the 
bearing walls.  Drywall nails popped about an inch in the adjacent apartment 
and diminished the further you got away from the apartment where the 
explosion occurred.  Had fire blocking been installed, I suspect that the 
second floor apartment would have come down.

The cause of the explosion was attributed to a leak in an underground natural 
gas line outside of the apartment.  This type of explosion has occurred 
several times that I can remember.  It appears that percolation thru the soil 
removes the artificial odor that is placed in odorless natural gas as no odor 
of gas was apparent in any of these explosions.  The first of these types of 
explosions that I recall, I was about 3 miles from the site of the explosion 
(a dry cleaning plant) and felt the pressure on my chest.  It wasn't until 
later in the day that I learned that an explosion occurred.

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