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'The whole thing dropped': Montana storage facility collapses mid-build

Posted at 3:18 PM, Sep 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-05 17:18:25-04

BILLINGS - A construction project recently collapsed because of high winds.

It’s the second collapsed structure this summer in Billings.

“I had heard the neighbors react to something and I heard a big loud thump,” said Daniel Turnquist on Monday at his home on the West End.

It had been a normal day for Turnquist until he returned home from work and looked out his backyard window.

“They had walls on the west side of the foundation and the east side of the foundation supporting the tresses, and within 10, 15 minutes, the whole thing dropped,” Turnquist said.

The structure near 72nd Street West and Neibauer Road was on its way to becoming a storage facility and had only been up for about a month before it collapsed.

Daniel Turnquist

“Another neighbor of mine, he was coming out too. But as they were all checking on everything to make sure they were okay, there were sheets of plywood flying all over through the field. He actually had to run back really fast because he just about got hit by one or two of them,” said Turnquist.

No injuries were reported after high winds from a storm surge reportedly caused the collapse.

“That’s what we had last Wednesday, we had thunderstorm activity. Strong downdrafts and thunderstorms produce gusty, erratic winds. Sometimes those get pretty strong,” said Billings National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Lester.

Lester said wind speeds of 58 mph are considered to be severe and are what can cause significant damage.

“Looking back at some of the observed winds we had, there was a peak gust of 56 miles an hour at the airport,” Lester said.


A DHP construction spokesperson said that the facility was u-shaped and it didn’t help that the initial portion they were framing was facing west.

Turnquist said he’s not surprised by the damage.

“They had sheeting most of the way up, so the wind was still able to come through. I mean you got big sails sitting there, I don’t know how braced they were or not,” said Turnquist.

It was a familiar sight for Turnquist as he saw the aftermath of the collapsed structure on Shiloh Rd. back in June.

“And I was like what in the world. ‘Cuz that one was a lot further along than this one was. This one, you could see, especially with the wind coming in and stuff. I’m super happy everyone was fine,” Turnquist said.

The DHP spokesperson said that construction will continue on the project as normal.