Gas station canopies suffered significant nonstructural damage throughout the Mississippi coast, but no structural damage. Therefore, it was surprising to see a collapsed canopy far east of the storm center in Mobile, Alabama. The Citgo gas station located on the southbound side of HWY 163, just south of I-10, partially collapsed as shown in Figure 1. The north end of the canopy was pushed west while the south end remained vertical. A closer observation revealed the reason for the collapse of the steel columns was due to severe rusting at the base of the hollow-tube section (see Figure 2). In fact, rust had pierced through most of the base perimeter of the south column, which remained vertical as shown in Figure 3. It is likely that the two additional columns at the south-west and south-east corners of the structure kept the south end from failing as well. Based on the presence of tall weeds in the concrete lot, it appears that this gas station has not been in service for some time.
Figure 2. Fracture at base of north column due to a reduced cross-section from rusting.
Photo: G. Mosqueda (for MCEER)
Submitted by Gilberto Mosqueda and Keith Porter
September 12, 2005