A deck collapses at a beach house in North Carolina earlier this month, as a family gathered for a group photo. At least 14 people were hurt, and two were taken to the hospital in critical condition.
According to a spokesperson at a local hospital in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, 20 people including a child were taken to that hospital after the collapse, indicating that the injury total was higher than first reported.
Police stated that the deck measured 12 by 12 feet and was about 12 feet above the ground. Most of the injuries were broken bones, but more information could not be released due to patient privacy laws.
A later report stated that it appeared that the nails in the deck had deteriorated over the years due to exposure to sun, salt, sand and moisture. The report added that the deck probably was built to code at the time it was constructed, but it simply fell apart after years of wear under the weight of all the people on the deck.
This unfortunate story indicates just how critical it is for property owners to be vigilant when it comes to property maintenance and inspections. If upkeep of a rental property is ignored, terrible accidents may occur. At least 2000 people suffered injuries from deck collapse incidents from 2000-2006.
Decks may have been well built 20 or 30 years ago, but years of use and exposure to the elements can weaken them to the point of collapse. If you own a property with a deck that is more than 10 years old, you should have it inspected by a qualified professional to ensure that it meets modern building codes.