Deadly Balcony Collapse Tied To Rotted Wooden Beams

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) —
Workers remove part of a balcony that collapsed at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Workers remove part of a balcony that collapsed at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The balcony collapse that killed six college students appears to have been caused by rotted wooden beams, Berkeley’s mayor said Wednesday as the victims’ heartbroken family members began arriving in the U.S. from Ireland.

Mayor Tom Bates said investigators believe the wood was not caulked and sealed properly at the time of construction and was damaged by moisture as a result.

The crowded fifth-floor balcony broke off an apartment building during a birthday party held by visiting Irish college students Tuesday, spilling 13 people 50 feet onto the pavement below. In addition to the six killed, seven were seriously hurt.

“More than likely, it was caused by rain and water damage that was caused to the support beams,” Bates said. He said it was “obviously a bad idea” for 13 people to crowd onto such a small balcony but added that he is not blaming the victims.

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