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Engineer: 'There's nothing to hold it back to the house'

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Updated: 7/05/2013 7:27 pm
NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. -- Engineer Malcolm McLaren says it's pretty easy to see why the balcony fell from a Neptune Beach home.

"You can see on the end, there appears to be some rotted lumber.  And once the connection to that rotten lumber starts to peel away, there's nothing to hold it back to the house," he said.

He walked around the house and said the balconies on that side weren't in great shape, either.

"You can see that doesn't look like it was made with treated lumber," said McLaren.  "Should have used treated lumber so that it wouldn't rot."

He said beach homes take a beating.  The water, salt, and sun can take a toll, and homeowners need to be mindful.

"The first thing to go sometimes is the hardware, the nails, the screws that hold this thing together," he said.  "People tend to not look at these things, but they really do need to be maintained."

He said maintenance was no doubt the issue on the Fourth of July.  By the looks of it, he said it should have easily been able to hold the 10-15 people who were standing on it when it collapsed.

"(It) shouldn't be a problem if it was properly maintained," said McLaren.

The police chief says the homeowner is ultimately responsible for the maintenance of his balconies.  Action News tried to reach the owner several times, with no luck.
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