On Friday, July 3rd, 2015, the collapse of an external stairway at the The Legends at Willow Creek apartment complex in Folsom killed a 27-year-old man. The deadly Folsom Stairway collapse happened without warning between the second and third floor at around 2:40 pm as two men were descending the stairs.
One man made it safely to the bottom, but the second man was not so lucky. The entire staircase collapsed and landed on top of him. The man was severely injured and died at the scene. The complex was built in 1999 and acquired by its present owners in 2007. Sadly. this was not the first incident involving a defective stairway at the complex. A previous collapse happened at a different building about a year ago. Fortunately, no one was injured in that Folsom apartment staircase incident.
A spokesman from the property management company for the apartment complex, Larry Kamer, of Gerson Bakar and Associates, admitted there was an incident within the last year involving a stairwell on another building. He said the apartment complex was aware of the problem and was in the process of fixing it. On of the residents indicated that repairs had first started in May of 2014. The reason for the apparent delay in remedying the situation is not known. In other buildings, tall wood beams and supporting staircases were in the process of being installed.
Kamer said management planned to add more support to the staircases over the weekend, even though it was the 4th of July weekend. Kamer also indicated that work needed to be done to fix the stairs at the point where they were attached to the side of the building. The wood needed to be replaced and the stairs attached more securely. All the stairwells needed to be replaced. Kamer said they are working to determine the reason that it the repairs have not yet been made when started over a year ago.
When property owners ignore complaints and fail to quickly remedy unsafe building conditions, residents may fear for their safety. They may also feel outrage when inaction leads to injuries.
Residents of the Legends expressed concern that repairs had been taking so long. KCRA reported that after the incident many of the residents felt unsafe to return to the complex.
The Folsom Fire Department and Building Department are handling further investigation and will proceed to check out all of the structures in the complex.
Stairway collapses are often the result of dry rot, which is caused by improper flashing or sealing of the wood framing during construction. When there is a problem with the flashing or sealing, moisture can intrude into places in the wood structure. This causes deterioration or decomposition of the wood fibers, weakening the structure and ultimately causing failure. Termites are another source of damage to wood. Stairwell collapse can also result from failure of bolts joining the structures .Various state and municipal building codes apply to the construction of new buildings. Problems with design can also contribute to moisture problems. The failure of bolts joining structures can also lead to a stairway collapse.
When a stairway collapse happens at the wrong time, serious injuries such as brain trauma, spinal cord injury and even death can occur. Building structures must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure the soundness of the structure. It is therefore of extremely important to promptly remedy and defect once it comes to the attention of the owner, not only in order preserve the value and integrity of the structure of the building, but also to protect the residents. Stairways in apartments are obviously frequently used by residents, visitors and employees of the complex.
The structural integrity of stairways is taken for granted by users. It is assumed by users that stairways are safe in residential complexes, without any pause for thought or inspection. The hidden danger of stairway collapse requires a property owner to take swift action to remedy any defect to prevent the risk of serious harm.
When an injury occurs as a result of an accident caused by a structural failure on a building, it is imperative that an experienced premises liability attorney investigate the underlying cause or causes of the accident. Without prompt investigation, valuable evidence that explain what happened may be lost or destroyed.
Sacramento Premises liability lawyer Ed Smith has been practicing personal injury law for over 30 years. If you or a loved one have suffered from an injury as a result of a stairway collapse, contact the experienced Premises Liability Injury Attorneys at the Law Offices of Ed Smith for a free consultation at (916) 921-6400 or toll free at 1-800-404-5400.
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You can write Ed personally at firstname.lastname@example.org