Structural engineers have been constantly striving to improve their understanding of the forces of nature and how they interact with structures. Two such forces are thermal loading caused by fire, and lateral forces exerted by floodwater. Modern building codes and proficiency of engineers have generally led to sound structural designs, but sometimes unanticipated loads and events like uplift, scour and blowouts do occur during floods that wreak havoc on the structure. Similarly, unanticipated thermal growth and restraints under high temperatures can create distress in structures. After such events, structural engineers are called in to assess the damage and to determine what parts of structures need to be demolished and rebuilt, and what sections can be salvaged using proven and rational repair techniques. Analytical work coupled with non-destructive, partially destructive and other techniques used by structural engineers to assess extent of damage to concrete and steel structures will be discussed in the paper. Case studies of fire in a parking garage, a dam, a metal building, and an industrial facility will be presented as well as flood protection and modifications in medical and office buildings. The paper will also discuss the need to verify the performance of commercially available devices proposed for flood protection as well as the collaborative efforts of civil and structural engineers to develop a holistic plan to prevent distress from future flood events. Comments on the importance of structural engineers to understand load paths, the old adage of “trust but verify” and the pros and cons of remove and replace versus save and retrofit of various structural elements will be included.