AUSTIN - A condo balcony gave way Sunday morning, injuring nearly twodozen people around 4:00 Sunday morning.
According to police, residents at the Garden Court Condominiumslocated at 4811 East Oltorf Street in South Austin, were hosting aparty and many of the guests were on the balcony at the time of thecollapse.
Austin Police, 28 AFD firefighters and EMS responded to thecondos. Police reported that nearly 100 people were gathered aroundthe area of the complex when they arrived. They believe all wereparty-goers.
An Austin Fire Department written report taped on the door ofthe condo, says there were 30 people on the wooden deck when itcollapsed. Fire officials say that was too many; exceeding theweight limit for a balcony of that size. The report also states thestructure is just a week old and was illegal to use forparties.
Sunday morning City of Austin code compliance officers were onthe scene to inspect.
"We need to look at it if it was permitted and what type ofprocess went into building it," says Ron Potts, City of Austinassistant division manager, code compliance.
They will begin their initial investigation Monday morning.
"Come Monday morning we will start an investigation of whetherthis was all permitted to be built and we'll have the process ofengineering looking at it to see what happened and perform a formalinvestigation," said Potts.
According to Dr. Ziebell, EMS transported 13 people toBrackenridge while ten arrived on their own.
Doctors said that initially nine of the 23 patients wereconsidered “trauma stats”, which means they were incritical or near-critical condition.
Three of the 23 injured were considered to have minor enoughinjuries for them to be taken to a separate hospital in Round Rock.The transport allowed the doctors at Brackenridge to focus on thepatients with the most serious injuries.
Dr. Ziebell noted that five additional doctors were called intoBrackenridge to provide the necessary care for the 20 patients thatstayed at Brackenridge. He says that the majority of the injuriesare orthopedic, including a broken jaw.
A Seton spokesperson says all of the people were admitted andsome of those patients have since been released. They will providemore detailed information regarding the discharges Sundayevening.
Officials are investigating the accident to establish a cleareridea of what led up to the collapse. Some factors they willconsider are to determine what the weight limit for the balcony isversus how much was on it at the time and to study the structure tosee if its construction played a part.
The condo’s structural damage estimate has been set at$10,000.
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