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Warning Signs That A House Is In Danger Of Collapsing

(credit: Steve Patterson/CBS 3)

(credit: Steve Patterson/CBS 3)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
She's reported from inside a burning building, from the flight deck of...
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Given the recent collapse of several row homes in the City’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood, local experts want to make sure homeowners know what to look for before a collapse happens.

Associate Professor of Engineering at Temple University Bill Miller says chief causes of building instability could be attributed to water damage to the foundation, a weakened facade due to missing bricks or mortar.

Miller also says home improvements can be culprits as well. “People try to renovate and that often leads to some unintended disturbance of the structure.”

Bill Miller, Associate Professor of Engineering at Temple University. (Photo provided by Temple University)

Bill Miller, Associate Professor of Engineering at Temple University. (Photo provided by Temple University)

Commissioner of City Licenses and Inspections Carlton Williams says there are other indicators that you need to get your house checked out.

“If you see a structural crack, particularly one leading down to the foundation near the basement or on the outside, you certainly want to get that checked,” he said.

Williams says those who live in homes attached to vacant properties have to be even more vigilant, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. L&I is only a call away, just dial 3-1-1.

“Please give us a call. If there is a problem, we want to get our inspectors on it as soon as possible to try to prevent tragedies like this,” Williams said. “We are here to serve the public. In conditions like this, we definitely need the public’s support because we can’t be everywhere at all times but the public can point those things out and target them immediately.”

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