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#ThrowbackThursday: Hartford Civic Center Roof Collapse
On January 18, 1978, the Civic Center roof collapsed six hours after the University of Connecticut defeated the University of Massachusetts, 56-49. It collapsed into the arena below with a prolonged rumble at 4:19 a.m. The roof collapse was attributed to the weight of accumulated snow and ice from a 10-day storm. Miraculously, no one was hurt because the center was in the midst of an unusual three-day run of basketball games; no crews were inside making the changeover from basketball to hockey.
"I'll just be thanking the Lord that no one died,'' said former Hartford Deputy Mayor Nicholas R. Carbone, the political leader most closely identified with the Civic Center. "That day when I got to the site and I saw it, I just thanked the Lord that it didn't happen five hours earlier.''
Just 12 hours after the collapse, working off a sketch on an envelope, City Manager James B. Daken announced the coliseum would be rebuilt "bigger and better."
The building, now called the XL Center, has operated for more than 30 years since without incident. Building managers point out that the rebuilt center's roof is a railroad bridge truss construction thats much stronger than the original. During the recent run of winter storms, engineers have been engaged to check the roof periodically, and crews have cleared snow from the roof.
January 16, 2014