Probe into cause of collapsed roof at Farrington High advances

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Dec 03 2012 05:25:00 PM HST

Structural experts are a step closer to solving the mystery of why Farrington high school's auditorium roof collapsed without warning in October .

HONOLULU -

A bird's eye- view of the gaping hole in the Farrington High School auditorium built in 1955, tells the story.

The Department of Education expects that by next week, it will get a report from structural experts as to why the roof collapsed on Nov. 23 with no warning.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

Over the weekend, crews began clearing out some of the rubble so structural engineers with the private firm Kai Hawaii could get access to begin forensic tests on the metal trusses.    

"They couldn’t get to where they need to underneath all the rubble. The facility maintenance crews did an excellent job of clearing so they could get to the middle of the pile,” said Vice Principal Ronald Oyama.

The department has come up with a list of eight other buildings constructed around the same time that share the frame- truss construction of Farrington.

The DOE says engineers are currently poring over plans for Hilo and Baldwin high schools on the neighbor islands, as well as Pearl City, McKinley, Kaimuki and Roosevelt high schools, and Wheeler and Central Intermediate schools on Oahu.

If the structural experts find evidence of potential problems, Facilities Superintendent Ray Larauex says crews will be inspecting the campuses within 48 hours.

Even though the end of the school year is six months away, Farrington students are wondering how the closure of the auditorium will affect their graduation traditions.

"They are worried and asking, ‘What’s going to happen?' And we don't have answers," said Oyama.

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