Disaster City in College Station: Modeled After the Worst

DISASTER CITY IN COLLEGE STATION: MODELED AFTER THE WORST Lisa Taddeo reports from a pancaked House of Pancakes, a couple of miles south of the Texas A&M campus: “You cannot think calmly when you’re staring into a rubble pile of bodies, half of them moving and half of them still. You have to have been there before. Suppressing panic during crisis takes practice, which is precisely why 150 people have gathered on this dusty 52-acre plot called Disaster City in College Station, Texas: to practice imposing order where normally there isn’t any. . . . Disaster City isn’t a city but a vast disaster-simulation center designed to look and feel as close to catastrophe as you ever want to be. Each hairline crack, each mangled car, all the mountains of rubble are modeled on wreckage from real disasters, like the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles that killed 72 people and injured nearly 12,000. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing inspired the collapsed parking garage, with cars dangling off the sides like spiders from a ceiling, while the 12-foot-deep rubble catacombs resemble those from Ground Zero. ‘It’s like a Jerry Bruckheimer set,’ says Brian Smith, Disaster City’s public information officer.” [Popular Science, via Planetizen]