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Deck collapses: Building inspector condemns home

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Updated: 7/05/2013 3:43 pm
NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla.-- Less than 24 hours after the front deck of a Neptune Beach home collapsed, injuring eight people and sending four to the hospital, those living inside are being forced out.

"We're worried about the safety of the people still living in here, so he is posting it and giving the residents 48 hours to vacate. The balconies that haven't fallen, the ones that are still up there, are in danger of falling," said Neptune Beach Police Chief David Sembach.

[Slideshow: Neptune Beach deck collapse]

The city's building inspector, Don Ford, returned to the home early Friday morning to continue his investigation. Sembach says it could have been prevented. "Had it been properly maintained ... It shouldn't have fallen. There's rotten wood. There's also what he tells me is not structural grade lumber used to build them," he said.

One Jacksonville Beach man, Al Kellerman, says he can't believe the balconies haven't been fixed sooner. "I'm just looking at the wood right now and it's rotted," says Kellerman.

We wanted to know the same thing. We knocked on the homeowner, Ernest Russell Jr.'s, door. There was no answer. But we spotted a man around the corner. He saw our cameras and took off. We later confirmed with neighbors and residents that it is Russell.

Meanwhile Kellerman says he thinks deck inspections should become a mandatory thing. "Yearly. It should be a mandatory look at. Just to save this from happening because people can die," he says.

The injuries were all minor, because Sembach says if it were another floor up, it could've been much worse.
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imtellin - 7/5/2013 3:54 PM
0 Votes
yeah lumber out of the dumpster at home boy depot, doesn't constitute building grade material,, for sure.. old pallets, discarded scraps that the owner or his agent salvaged from the dump, don't constitute building grade material.. guess these boys never heard of pressure treated lumber of proportions adequate to carry the suggested load... money money money,, all the folks involved thought about was money.. well its sure gonna cost all of them "money" now, ya think ???the landlord will state he told them to get renters insurance & their story will be he just wanted the rent... can't wait to see how this plays out..

imtellin - 7/5/2013 3:49 PM
0 Votes
how about instead we make some god damn common sense mandatory ??? how's that working for ya dummy ? you put all those meatballs on a deck that hasn't been structurally constructed to handle that kind of load & its gonna happen everytime... and we're talking kids who were pounding on the deck, in their inebreated condition.. course they that didn't go to the hospital, sobered up pretty quickly !!! the renter saying he knew it was gonna happen & couldn't understand why it took so long kills me !!!what was he doing ?? conducting his own structural test ??? how many of my drunken friends can we put on the deck before it comes crashing down ??? sure hope the meatballs had renters insurance !!!
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