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Delaware Officials Worry Deck Safety Issues May Be Widespread

Jan-Carabeo-web-social-pic-no-branding Jan Carabeo
Jan Carabeo joined CBS 3 and The CW Philly’s Eyewitness News team ...
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By Jan Carabeo

NEW CASTLE, Del. (CBS) – Officials in New Castle County are asking the Delaware Apartment Association to alert its members of possible safety issues with older decks.

A letter from the county’s Chief Administrative Officer was sent Wednesday after a woman was injured when her deck collapsed on Monday at the Stonebridge Apartments just off Stonebridge Boulevard.

It doesn’t take a trained eye to notice decks at the complex need some work. Many are peeling away from the buildings, while others sit precariously on crooked posts.

“It’s falling apart,” tenant Jessica Case said.

All 130 decks at Stonebridge Apartments are now condemned with New Castle County inspectors posting dozens of notices Wednesday morning. The move comes after a deck collapsed during a Memorial Day cookout. The 51-year-old tenant fell from a second-story deck.

“She was buried under her balcony and neighbors had to come rescue her,” Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi said.

County officials are now inspecting the entire complex.

“We want to make sure there’s no other safety issues on that property,” Grimaldi said.

There’s now also concern that deck safety issues may go beyond the Stonebridge Apartment Complex, which was built in 1989.

“We’re issuing alerts to everybody who has developments that were built during the same period prior to 2000,” Grimaldi added.

More stringent code took effect in 2000.

Still, many tenants at Stonebridge say they’d often complained about deck deterioration.

“I’ve had maintenance men come out and say it’s okay,” tenant Melissa Quijada said.

Complex management though would only say it’s now working to fix the problem.

Tenants with concerns that aren’t addressed are encouraged to call the county’s department of land use and its inspectors for help.

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