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The Associated Press October 19, 2010, 5:04PM ET

Big fans put 2 houses to hurricane-force wind test

Researchers have used 105 giant fans to create hurricane-force winds in an experiment that crumpled an ordinary home in minutes but left a better-built home standing.

Engineers say the experiment carried out inside the Insurance Center for Building Safety in a rural area of South Carolina illustrates why fortified building materials and methods are better than those of conventional homes.

The cavernous center was built by insurance companies in an attempt to find ways to reduce damages and losses arising from natural disasters. The conventional house took minutes to collapse in 96-mph winds.

Chief engineer Tim Reinhold says the stronger house cost about $5,000 more to build. It suffered only cosmetic damage in the same winds.

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