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Balcony Collapse in Berkeley Kills 6 Students


Six college students were killed and seven were injured after midnight on early Tuesday morning in Berkeley when an apartment balcony they were standing on collapsed.

The incident happened about 12:42 a.m. According to news reports, the students were attending a 21st birthday party celebration on the balcony of a fifth-floor apartment when the balcony collapsed. There were reportedly 13 people on the balcony when it collapsed.

Five of the six individuals killed were visiting students from Ireland: Oliva Burke (21-years-old), Eoghan Culligan (21-years-old), Niccolai Schuster (21-years-old), Lorcan Miller (21-years-old) and Eimear Walsh (21-years-old). The sixth victim was 22-year-old Ashley Donohoe of Rohnert Park.

The apartment building, Library Gardens, located at 2020 Kittredge St. in Berkeley, is a 177-unit building. It has one and two bedroom apartments that rent for $2,150 to $3,000 per month for one bedroom units and $3,150 to $4,000 per month for two bedroom units.

According to Berkeley officials, the apartment complex was built from 2005 to 2007. The city’s 1998 building code applies, which requires that balconies support at least 60 pounds per square inch. A new building code went into effect in 2008 which increased the vertical load requirements for apartment buildings to 100 pounds per square inch.

The owner of the property has been ordered by the city to perform a structural assessment of the remaining balconies at the complex within 48 hours.

The owner of building is an investment fund called Granite Library Gardens. The building is valued at $65 million.

Liability for a Balcony Collapse

A building’s owner would be liable for any injuries or death resulting from a balcony collapse. The owner would be responsible for any deficiency in the design or construction of the building which ultimately resulted in the collapse. Dry rot is a common cause when balconies collapse. Water intrusion can cause the wood which attaches the balcony to the building to rot and fail.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as the result of a balcony collapse, the attorneys at McGee, Lerer & Associates are available 24-7 for a free consultation. We specialize in serious injury and wrongful death cases.