By MIKE McGRAW, The Kansas City Star
As the monster tornado bore down on them, Rusty Howard and his two small children sought refuge in a Home Depot store.
But instead the young father, the children and four other people died when the roof came off and the walls came down, crushing them beneath a 100,000-pound concrete panel.
Within seconds the entire structure collapsed in a heap of concrete slabs, metal trusses and roofing. At least 28 other people survived, huddled in an un-reinforced training room in the back of the building.
Rescue workers found Howard with an arm wrapped around each child.
There aren’t many safe havens in such ferocious, 200-mph winds. Most building codes in “tornado alley” require that commercial structures withstand only 90-mph winds, slower than many major league pitchers’ fastballs.
But while all big-box stores are vulnerable to high winds, the Joplin Home Depot — even though it met local building codes — was especially at risk, according to engineers who study the destruction that tornadoes leave behind.
Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011...n.html#ixzz1QfkGZ8Y4