Balcony Crash Investigation

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

A shell of a balcony. A pile of boards. And a yard full of empty cups and beer bottles. These are all that remain after a college party on Village Lane went terribly wrong.

JMU student Erica Drucker says, "I heard a crash, a really loud crash and I came outside and it was a heap of people. I saw the deck and it was completely on the ground in one piece. It had split down the middle but stayed in tact."

The deck, and those on it, came tumbling down just before 2 a.m. Sunday. Rescue workers took three people to the hospital. One student suffered a broken leg and can't take her end-of-the-year exams because of it.

Neighbors say they've heard of this sort of thing happening here before.

Amanda Jordan, a JMU student, says, "I think the decks are stable for the most part. I think it was just one of those rare occasions."

City inspectors are still investigating the crash. Owner Jordan Rohrer says the deck was in good condition, just beyond its capacity.

The lease says only 10 people should be on the balcony at one time. The tenants say their party was winding down and not many people were left.

But they also admit they weren't around to see the collapse. The property owner wouldn't comment on who would be held responsible for the accident. But it's clear to Drucker.

"If we have more people than we're supposed to on our deck, we're held responsible for that," she says.

The maintenance supervisor for Village Lane says the decks are inspected each summer and fixed as needed.


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