Florida Deck Collapse Brings To Light Safety Concerns

WILDWOOD, MO (KTVI)– It`s a scene that caused panic in Florida Thursday night during the NBA playoffs a deck at a sports bar collapsed sending dozens of people to the hospital.

Now the question of deck safety is on the minds of many enjoying the outdoors.

FOX 2 covered a deck collapse a few weeks ago.  On Memorial Day it was a horrifying scene at the Sandalwood Creek Condo Complex in Wildwood.  Four people sitting on a second story deck fell to the first floor, sending them to the hospital.

A similar event happened in Florida where dozens of customers at a sports bar fell into the water. The incidents are raising the question of what makes a deck safe, especially with summer activities around the corner. FOX 2 found one homeowner in the condo complex who says he was shocked to find out his deck was not up to code.

According to the St. Louis County building inspector’s office, crews came out and inspected 178 units. Out of that 16 were condemned and 36 were unusable and in need of repairs.

Smith Management Company, who runs the complex, says there are two types of decks on the property. Management says condo owners are responsible for maintaining single unit decks and garden unit decks are maintained by the Home Owners Association.

“According to the Sandalwood Creek Condominium indentures adopted in 1985, inspection and maintenance of the garden unit condominium decks are the responsibility of the Sandalwood Creek Condominium Association which employs Smith Management Group to coordinate any repairs. A recent St. Louis County inspection found all garden unit condominium decks maintained by the association safe for use.

The Sandalwood Creek Condominium indentures place responsibility for the inspection and maintenance and/or replacement of townhome decks on the unit owner. As a courtesy to Sandalwood Creek townhome owners, Smith Management Group contacted all townhome owners and offered to inspect their decks for structural issues and prepare a bid to repair them as needed. ”

Inspectors say don`t nail your decks make sure it’s bolted to your structure. They also say keep an eye out for rotting wood, rusty bolts and shaky posts. Something this homeowner is more than ready to do. He expects to pay between $600 and $1,000 in repairs. We`re also told the collapse victims are still in recovery.

Inspectors are set to re-inspect the 52 decks sometime in the next two weeks.