Home » Powers Fasteners Indicted in Big Dig Tunnel Collapse
Powers Fasteners Indicted in Big Dig Tunnel Collapse
August 8, 2007
Power Fasteners Inc., Brewster, NY, a global fasteners manufacturer, has been indicted by a Grand Jury in connection with the July 10, 2006, ceiling panel collapse that killed one person in the I-90 Connector Tunnel (Big Dig tunnel) in Boston, MA. Powers has been charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter.   ; Milena Del Valle died when a suspended concrete ceiling panel collapsed on the vehicle she and her husband were traveling in. After a 13-month investigation, authorities determined that Powers' epoxy was used to suspend the concrete ceiling in that section of the tunnel.
Federal authorities allege that the cause of the ceiling collapse was the use of Power-Fast Fast Set epoxy product in the anchor system. They say the type of epoxy used was found to be unsuitable for sustained loads as it is susceptible to 'creep'" -where the anchors pull away from the ceiling over time.   ; Authorities allege that Powers knew its epoxy anchor adhesive had poor creep resistance, and that it failed to provide the project with information to that effect. They further allege that Powers failed to reveal the information in marketing material, or when specifically asked. The indictment charges that Powers had the necessary knowledge and opportunity to prevent the ceiling collapse but did not do so, and that this resulted in the death of Del Valle.   ; In a July 10, 2007, release on its Web site, Power says that it supplied $1,287 worth of Power-Fast Standard Set epoxy, not Fast Set, for the ceiling system project. The supplier says it was asked by its distributor to supply the Standard Set epoxy for use in the project, and did not know that the Fast Set was used in place of Standard Set.   ; The manufacturer also says that it had inspected installed anchors back in 1999, when the project was underway, and supplied information regarding the limitations of its Fast Set epoxy. "The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) found that numerous mistakes were made in the construction of the ceiling, most notably, insufficient epoxy to coat the anchors," Powers says in the release. In addition, Powers says that the NTSB found that plastic caps used for the installation and placed on every bolt reduced the weight-bearing capacity.   ; Powers says it will review and fully evaluate the basis for the NTSB's conclusions and revise its literature and packaging to recommend Standard Set rather than Fast Set for sustained long-term loads.   ; Powers Fasteners is a global company specializing in manufacturing and marketing anchoring and fastening products for concrete, masonry, and steel.