News & Insights

Fixing a Fire Escape Near Oregon State University, Corvallis

Carl Christianson

A Corvallis sorority called us recently with an urgent construction concern. The girls had gathered on the fire escape for a group photo, suddenly the escape lurched slightly as the lag bolts started to pull out of the building’s walls. Fortunately, no one was injured. The sorority asked G. Christianson Construction, a Corvallis remodeling and new construction firm, to come by and fix the fire escape. We brought our structural engineer along to help us find the problem and devise a solution.


During the fire escape inspection we found that the bolts were no longer secured to the house’s framing, due in part to age, dry rot and rust. Our structural engineer was concerned about the fire escape failing and prescribed a temporary fix. The sorority house asked us to fabricate and replace the escape over winter break. However, there wasn’t enough time to get the steel fabricated before the live-in students returned, so with the engineer’s advice we devised and installed a temporary fix.  We poured two new concrete pads underneath the fire escape, designed to also function with the replacement fire escape. Then we installed 6×6 wood posts to temporarily support the escape.


When summer break arrived we successfully constructed the new steel fire escape. The sorority was happy with the summertime work because they didn’t need to close the house while we removed and replaced their only fire escape. The remodeling went well and our client was very happy with our work.

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