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Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse #8052311 11/16/20 04:21 PM
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For nearly a century, students at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, created a massive bonfire—self-proclaimed to be “the world’s largest”—prior to their school’s annual football game against their archrival, the University of Texas.

The 1999 bonfire was supposed to require more than 7,000 logs and the labor of up to 70 workers at a time. Just after dawn on November 18, students were working near the top of the 59-foot-high pile (4 feet higher than authorized) when, in the words of Jenny Callaway, a student who was on the stack, “It just snapped.” Without warning, scores of students became caught in the huge log pile. Other students, including Caleb Hill who suffered only broken bones in his 50-foot fall, were lucky enough to fall away from the pile.

“People were running around calling people’s names and crying,” sophomore Michael Guerra said. “Other people were just like zombies. They couldn’t believe what had happened.” Cranes were immediately brought in to remove the logs and free the students but the process was painstaking, as any wrong movement could cause further collapse. The last survivor was pulled from the pile about six hours later. Overall, twelve people were killed, and 27 were injured.

The bonfire was cancelled for only the second time ever and an investigation began into the causes of the collapse. It was later determined that the first stack of logs did not have sufficient containment strength. The wiring used to tie the logs together was not strong enough for the job; the steel cables employed in prior years had not been used. The construction effort in general was also blamed, for creating “a complex and dangerous structure without adequate physical or engineering control.


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Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8052325 11/16/20 04:26 PM
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Very sad day I remember it well angel

Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8052328 11/16/20 04:27 PM
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Remember it sadly.


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Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8052361 11/16/20 04:51 PM
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I remember hearing about it as a pretty small kid. I had no idea at the time I would attend A&M. I wish they would have it again, im a fire bug I would have been interested. Have some family that was active in the off campus ones, but them folks are F-ing nuts I let that ride to go hunting.


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Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8052374 11/16/20 04:57 PM
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I used to love the bonfire's... always such an incredible night. I attended school there in the late 90's and was there when the stack fell. It was just horrible. May the 12 lost Rest In Peace!

Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8052421 11/16/20 05:39 PM
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Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8053418 11/17/20 12:52 PM
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I served all of the lawsuits in that case.

Sad deal.


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Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8053687 11/17/20 03:56 PM
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I was part of the 98' bonfire build while I was in the Moses dorm. A tradition like no other waking up at 3 am, taking a bus to the middle of the woods, chopping everything down by hand, and carrying the trees out by hand. A lot of blood sweat and tears went into the bonfires and I wish they still did them today, but there are obvious reasons why they don't. The loss of those young students was tragic, and unfortunately avoidable.


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Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: angus1956] #8053724 11/17/20 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by angus1956
Very sad day I remember it well angel

Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8054407 11/18/20 12:54 AM
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Here.

Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: Gangly] #8054429 11/18/20 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Gangly
I was part of the 98' bonfire build while I was in the Moses dorm. A tradition like no other waking up at 3 am, taking a bus to the middle of the woods, chopping everything down by hand, and carrying the trees out by hand. A lot of blood sweat and tears went into the bonfires and I wish they still did them today, but there are obvious reasons why they don't. The loss of those young students was tragic, and unfortunately avoidable.



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Walton Loads!

WHOOOOP!


I was there when it fell in '94. What saved us was it we were done with the (initial) build and no one was on the stack.

I remember hearing about it in '99 and was beside myself in anguish.

It should have never been moved from Duncan.

Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8054473 11/18/20 01:39 AM
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One of my childhood friends was supposed to be on the stack that night but had to skip her shift because she was studying for a test the next day. I didn't know she skipped her shift and couldn't get in touch with her until after lunch that day. Two of my other friends were roommates in the Towers that overlooked the field and they were awoken by all the sirens, they were devastated when they looked out their window and saw what was happening. That was our freshman year of college. I didn't go to A&M but I'll never forget it.

Last edited by Ox190; 11/18/20 01:40 AM.

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Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8054740 11/18/20 12:31 PM
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Here. ‘93

Re: Nov. 16, 1999. Texas A&M bonfire collapse [Re: reeltexan] #8054764 11/18/20 01:01 PM
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RIP angel

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