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Structural engineer reflects on La Bonita collapse

Posted at 7:52 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 13:13:20-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Nobody’s getting in and out of the La Bonita Supermarket on Desert Inn Road for a while after the front of the building simply gave way Friday morning. It was a rare occurrence for the Las Vegas valley.

Brent Wright, the CEO of Wright Engineers, said that when he found out the supermarket’s front side of the building collapsed, he found it hard to believe. He said he has not seen anything like this happen in the past 32 years that he has lived here. By just looking at it, Wright said the construction was many years ago.

ORIGINAL STORY: 4 people injured in collapse at La Bonita Supermarket near Desert Inn, Eastern

“We can only assume that it was designed and constructed correctly according to the code that was put into place at the time the building was built,” explained Wright.

He said the building codes continue to change and improve over many years. Often, they’re modified whenever there is a significant disaster or failure. Wright said developers learn from things like this.

“We are going to want to find out what happened so that it doesn’t happen again,” said Wright.

To design a commercial structure like this one, Wright said building codes must be followed very precisely. He said building officials and inspectors help ensure these codes and go each one with a fine comb. This has made situations like this very uncommon.

“As structural engineers, our primary focus is to design buildings that are safe that withstand earthquakes and wind loads and other loads that are imposed upon them,” Wright said.

The owner of the property where the collapse took place was advised to hire an engineer to assess what caused the destruction and to provide the results of that assessment to the Clark County Building Department for further evaluation.