GULF SHORES, Ala. (WPMI) Late Monday afternoon a beach house deck caved in sending six people to the hospital. Most of the students slid off the collapsed deck making the fall less dangerous.
When it comes to the investigation, inspectors will trace back any building permits. When it comes to private property the city has little authority. " The pictures that we saw look like a significant number of people on the lower deck and the upper deck and heaven forbid if the upper deck had been the one that would have collapsed it could have been a significantly worse event than it already was, " said Grant Brown with the City of Gulf Shores.
Estimates on how many people were on the deck when it collapsed range from 15 to 50. At the emergency room, where six students were treated, doctors say patients spoke of a crowd of at least 60. "I'm hearing it was more like 60 or 70 people on the deck. That's coming from the students we were treating. They were telling me that. You know we want these kids to come here we want them to enjoy our beaches but use common sense, " said ER Dr. Debra Hebert who says the college kids were lucky.
One broken arm, sprained ankles, wrists, cuts and bruises it could have been worse. "More serious head injuries, neck injuries, paralysis it could have been really a tragedy but let this be a lesson if people are on a dock or a deck not to have more than what's reasonable, " said Hebert.
Fire officials say they witnessed a mass exodus of college students saying close to 200 were in the house. Police and the Fire Marshall inspected the property today. All tenants were evicted.
Upkeep on most beach homes is up to the owner or management company. Some will hire independent inspectors. Usually condo or building associations pay for the inspections.