Tag Archives: Berkeley fatality
Berkeley balcony collapse: Contractor used inferior wood and owner ignored signs of rot, including mushrooms sprouting from the surface, lawsuits allege
The contractor for Library Gardens used inferior wood to construct the balcony that collapsed June 16, and allowed it to be saturated by rain before enclosing it, according to 12 lawsuits filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday by families of those killed in the disaster as well as those injured.
The wood in the fifth-floor balcony at 2020 Kittredge St. started to rot so quickly after its 2005 construction that mushrooms later sprouted on the surface, according to the lawsuit. “Fungal bloom and biologic growth” appeared on the balcony’s exterior, as well as the balcony a floor below.
Most significantly, the balcony began to tilt downward in 2014, a sure sign that its joists had been compromised, according to the lawsuit.
Despite all those red flags, the owner and property manager of Library Gardens did not take any steps to examine the balcony’s structure and determine if it was safe, according to the lawsuits. Instead, they allowed apartment #405 to be rented out regularly until the June collapse, which killed six young people and seriously injured seven others, most of them Irish citizens who had come to the U.S. to work for the summer. They were “a group of well-educated, hard-working, healthy and happy young men and women [who] gathered to mark their friendship and celebrate a 21st birthday. Most had grown up in Dublin and were attending top-tier Irish universities,” the lawsuits read. … Continue reading »
Update, Nov. 6: The motorcycle rider was identified as 44-year-old Kelly Wayne Dew of Benicia. His cause of death was blunt injuries, according to the Alameda County coroner’s office.
Original story, Oct. 23, 1:45 p.m. A man on a motorcycle died Friday morning after running into a minivan on Interstate 80 in Berkeley, the California Highway Patrol has reported.
According to the Oakland CHP, officers responded at about 9:15 a.m. for a report of a traffic collision on westbound I-80 near Ashby Avenue.
Officers found a collision involving a 2015 Ducati Diavel motorcycle and a 2010 Honda Odyssey minivan. The motorcyclist sustained major injuries and Berkeley Fire Department paramedics performed CPR on the scene, then took the motorcyclist to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Alameda County coroner’s office said the man’s name was not yet available as of 1:30 p.m. Friday. Berkeleyside will update this post if the name becomes available. … Continue reading »
The Alameda County district attorney’s office is hoping to determine the source of water intrusion that led a fifth-floor balcony to collapse in Berkeley in June, killing six and injuring seven.
The tragedy at Library Gardens was an international story, due both to the number of victims who died or suffered serious injuries, and the fact that those impacted were young students from Ireland who were living in the Bay Area for the summer as part of a cultural exchange program.
DA’s office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick told Berkeleyside on Monday that investigators made progress “with a significant part of its investigation” last week.
Read complete coverage related to the balcony collapse.
Investigators erected scaffolding at the Library Gardens apartment complex, and retained a construction company to remove parts of the building for analysis. … Continue reading »
Update, 3 p.m. Ashby BART station is now open, following its closure in the wake of a person going under a train Monday at around 12:20 p.m., according to BART spokesman Jim Allison. Passengers will likely experience delays as trains get back on schedule, Allison said in a message left on the BART media hotline at 2:45 p.m. Allison confirmed that the incident resulted in a fatality and that the Alameda County coroner’s bureau responded to the scene. The case is under investigation by BART Police.
Update, 2 p.m. Ashby BART station is still closed due to the person under the train.
Original story, 12:50 p.m. Ashby BART station was closed at around 12:30 p.m. Monday due to what BART described in a Twitter alert as a “major medical emergency.” A person was reported as being under the train at 12:24 p.m., according to a message left by BART spokesman Jim Allison on its media hotline. … Continue reading »
Once you own a hammer every problem looks like a nail.
Over the past 20 years the City of Berkeley has had a number of deaths which have occurred in its rental housing stock. After each incident the response was the same: mandate inspections and charge the landlord. This rarely addresses the real problem but it is good politics.
The first was a problem of a student renting a house in North Oakland, close to the Berkeley border. His parents came … Continue reading »
There are a lot of questions swirling around regarding the City of Berkeley’s handling of its investigation into the Library Gardens balcony collapse.
The recent new safety regulations passed by the City Council and believed by Berkeley Mayor Bates to be the toughest in the state, while welcomed, add much fuel to the controversy.
Two conspiracy theories have emerged to explain the City’s haste to demolish the second balcony and turn the evidence over to the owner. The first … Continue reading »
The families of the four Irish students who remain hospitalized with injuries suffered after a balcony collapsed at 2020 Kittredge St. on June 16, killing six and injuring seven, have issued a statement of thanks.
Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Hannah Waters and Niall Murray are all being treated at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. This statement, released Monday through the city of Berkeley, is from their families:
“As traumatic and difficult as the past five weeks have been for Aoife, Clodagh, Hannah and Niall, our constant thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and friends of Eimear Walsh, Ashley Donohoe, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller and Eoghan Culligan. May they rest in peace. … Continue reading »
A month after a fifth-floor balcony snapped off the façade of 2020 Kittredge St. in Berkeley, sending six people in their 20s to their deaths and injuring seven others, hundreds of people gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on Sunday to honor them.
The event was a “Month’s Mind,” a traditional Irish requiem mass held a month after a death, according to Philip Grant, the Irish consul general in San Francisco. It is meant to remember and honor the deceased. There is a moment of silence for reflection.
“It’s a moment of reflection on what happened and where we’ve come,” said Grant. … Continue reading »
After a deadly balcony collapse in June that killed six and injured seven in downtown Berkeley, the City Council voted Tuesday night to change several laws to improve building safety throughout the city.
Council voted unanimously to require periodic inspections of all existing weather-exposed exterior building elements, including balconies, stairs and decks. Those elements now need to be inspected within the next six months, and every following three years.
City planning director Eric Angstadt said 6,000 buildings in Berkeley would be affected by the new program, which he said covers “anything exposed to weather that could have water intrusion, [and] yield deterioration.”
An investigation by city building inspectors identified wood rot as the sole contributing factor in the June 16 collapse of a fifth-floor balcony at the Library Gardens apartment complex. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council may vote next week to amend the municipal code in an effort to make local buildings safer following the fatal collapse in June of a wood-rotted fifth-floor balcony at Library Gardens.
The city pledged last month to consider the adoption of stricter rules related to building inspections following the accident at the downtown Berkeley apartment complex during a birthday celebration June 16. Six died and seven were injured as a result of the collapse. The Alameda County district attorney’s office has since launched an investigation and is considering the possibility of whether to file criminal charges.
The items on council’s action calendar at its July 14 meeting — the final one before summer recess — include amendments to the city’s municipal code suggested by the director of the planning department, along with two items from Councilman Jesse Arreguín. Arreguín is asking the city to consider requiring the steel reinforcement of balconies in all new construction, as well as a requirement to post signage on some balconies specifying their maximum weight capacity.
Berkeley planning director Eric Angstadt has suggested a slew of amendments to the municipal code, including three related “urgency ordinances” to the building code, housing code and Residential Rental Housing Safety Program. Under state law, urgency ordinances may be adopted immediately. … Continue reading »
The family of a 21-year-old Irish woman who was seriously injured in the collapse of a fifth-floor balcony at the Library Gardens apartment building in Berkeley has posted photos of her progress on a Facebook page.
Clodagh Cogley was one of 13 people who fell nearly 50 feet to the ground after the balcony failed on June 16. Six of her friends were killed, and she and six others were seriously injured.
Cogley suffered two collapsed lungs, a broken shoulder and broken knee, five broken ribs and a broken spinal cord, according to her Facebook page. She is making “great progress,” according to the Facebook page.
Cogley said on Facebook last week that chances were “bleak” that she can use her legs again. Yet the Trinity College, Dublin, student showed an amazing determination to look on the bright side of the accident.
“Life is short and I intend to honor those who died by living the happiest and most fulfilling life possible,” Cogley wrote, as Berkeleyside reported last week in an update about the conditions of all the survivors.
Cogley has moved to a rehabilitation facility in Santa Clara, one, she excitedly reported on Facebook, with dog therapy.
Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.
Her family has launched a fundraising campaign to adapt their Dublin home to accommodate a wheelchair. So far, in just four days, people have donated 15,000 euros, or nearly $17,000. The goal is 25,000 euros, or nearly $28,000. … Continue reading »
The fifth-floor Berkeley balcony that collapsed June 16, sending six people in their 20s to their deaths, was inspected less than a year before the accident and found to be structurally sound.
The Aug. 15, 2014, inspection report attesting to that was included in a slew of documents that Greystar, the management company for Library Gardens at 2020 Kittredge St., released in recent days to the city of Berkeley. The documents also include the record of a Sept. 30, 2014, visual inspection of unit 405, the two-bedroom apartment where the balcony collapsed. In that instance, two employees found that the window seals in the unit were “good,” but that the apartment was lacking a carbon-monoxide alarm, and one fire alarm was beeping. … Continue reading »
Segue Construction, the company that oversaw the building of Library Gardens, scene of an accident that killed six earlier this month, plans to ask a judge today to prohibit the Alameda County district attorney’s office from examining the balcony that sheared off the fifth floor June 16 unless one of its representatives is present.
In a three-paragraph press release, Pleasanton-based Segue pledged to cooperate with the DA’s investigation into the cause of the collapse that killed six students and injured seven others. But the company plans to seek a temporary restraining order “to ensure no evidence related to this tragic accident is altered, inspected, tested, or destroyed without allowing Segue to observe and participate in that process,” the company said.
Read complete balcony collapse coverage on Berkeleyside.
Teresa Drenick, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office, said early Tuesday that she could not comment yet on the news. She was not even sure that the DA’s office had been served any papers yet. … Continue reading »