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Deck collapse renters call wood "rotten"

Reported by: Jamie Smith
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Updated: 7/05/2013 12:28 pm
NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. -- Eight people are recovering from injuries sustained when a wooden deck packed with people collapsed from the second floor to the ground below in Neptune Beach Thursday afternoon.

Young adults partying on the old wooden structure tell us there were about a dozen people on it when it suddenly gave way. Amazingly, none of the injuries was serious and only four people had to be treated at the hospital.

Logan Kenney stepped off the deck moments before it fell.

"There were just too many people on there. It shouldn't have fallen, but there were still too many people," said Kenney.

First Street outside was packed with 4th of July revelers when smiles turned to horror mid-afternoon.
The renters who live in the house at 2000 1st Street were hosting an Independence Day party.

Matt Walker was at the party and told Action News, "You don't expect to see that. A house on the 4th of July is supposed to be all fun and games and this happens," said Walker.

A building inspector came out to survey the damage to the house that was built in 1985, according to records obtained by Action News.

The house owner down the road in nearby Atlantic Beach wasn't home for comment. His renters who live at the collapse scene say decks on the side of the house were repaired last year, but the one out front never was.

Tyler Bice, who rents the house told Action News, "You could see the same old wood. Rotten."

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imtellin - 7/5/2013 8:14 AM
1 Vote
more evidence of the stupidity of todays youth.. they all had eyes & should have seen the condition of the wood.. the ones on t.v., appeared old enough to form rational opinions... if they all stood on the deck, in that condition of degeneration,, then they have no claim for any damages... that being said, the owner is screwed unless he can prove the renters signed a notice about weight limits on the decks, then the renters become the responsible parties.. yet any fool could see the wood was weather worn, & should not have been trusted for more than 2 people at most... the repairs to the side decks appear to have been fashioned from 2nd hand lumber, so i wouldn't trust those decks either ...the decking they were standing on seemed intact, it appears the supports that angled back into the house gave way, nails pulled loose from the cleat, & everyone went for a ride..

kimkatwijk - 7/5/2013 12:42 AM
1 Vote
According to my research, there have been 23 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries do to deck failures since 2000. A properly designed and built deck cannot be overloaded even if you stacked people onto it shoulder to shoulder. There are two main reasons for deck failures. 1) The ledger (the board that runs parallel to the side of the house and supports the edge of the deck, securing it to the house) is just nailed onto the house. Half the weight of the deck is on the ledger board and nails have a tendency to slide out over time. A ledger board needs to be attached to the house with fastners that are compatible with pressure treated lumber such as galvanized bolts, lags, or ACQ compatible Star Drive Lag Screws™. 2) ROT! Decks that have not been built correctly or have not been maintained are more susceptible to damage and weakening due to rot. Look for rot’s discoloration in the lumber or anything growing out of the wood. Test for rot by stabbing the wood with a sturdy knife point. If your knife goes in more than one quarter of an inch or you find spongy spots, that means the wood is decaying. If only a few boards are damaged, replace them. You cannot get away with leaving the rotten boards and putting a new board beside it. This will only accelerate the rot by providing fresh food for it. The rot will quickly invade the new board. If you find soft spots in the support posts or beams, you will need to rebuild the deck. (This requires a building permit.) To minimize future problems, hire a professional that specializes in decks. Assess whether the structure is solid. When you walk on the deck, you should not feel it move. It should not tilt. The railing should be firm and not moveable. The fasteners should not be loose or corroded. If you own a wood deck, you should clean and seal the boards every year. Check your deck yearly and before large gatherings for rot and other problems. Because decks are exposed to the weather, they don't last for
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