Students Injured in Balcony Collapse at UVA Identified - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Spo...

Full story: NBC29 Charlottesville

Charlottesville police are identifying the two students injured when a balcony collapsed at a University of Virginia fraternity house.
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1 - 20 of 24 Comments Last updated Sep 26, 2011
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Margaret Kenney

Fork Union, VA

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#1
Sep 25, 2011
 

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How could that happen? Don't they have building inspectors who are supposed to check on things like that on a regular basis? This could have been avoided, now two young people are injured(one in critical condition,) because of negligence on someones part. My thoughts and prayers are with those two young people and their families.
chb

Charlottesville, VA

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#2
Sep 25, 2011
 

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While I feel sorry for the two young men, I have seen parties at that frat house with 20 + people on that balcony. They were probably drinking and leaning on the railing when it gave.
Teresa

Blacksburg, VA

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#3
Sep 25, 2011
 

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This is a tragic accident that could have happened whether they were drinking or not. It's my understanding that the frat houses are owned by the fraternities and it wouldn't be UVa's responsiblity to inspect them. Prayers for both boys and their families and friends.
One squire stion

United States

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#4
Sep 25, 2011
 

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I do not believe these locations are the responsibility of FM. Maybe in the future they will be. Many people at FM are dedicated to their carriers and if these locations are included in the future it is not likely to happen again.
Safety sense

Charlottesville, VA

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#5
Sep 25, 2011
 

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The problem is that the railing must have been rotten. Railings by the current residential building codes must be able to withstand a 200-pound load applied along any point without failure of the railing. Unfortunately, these things are either grandfathered-in (since this one is probably 90 or 100 years old)or were never built to any particular building code designed to insure safety.
To insure public safety, for rental housing it would be a good idea for railings to actually be tested before rental. If the railings appear to yield under less than 200 pounds pressure, the fix would be simple; in this case a new railing could simply have been attached to the inside face of those columns to keep any pressure off the old one.
This has nothing to do with frat-boy silliness and everything to do with hidden structural defects.
Mozambiqueious

United States

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#6
Sep 25, 2011
 

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Margaret Kenney wrote:
How could that happen? Don't they have building inspectors who are supposed to check on things like that on a regular basis? This could have been avoided, now two young people are injured(one in critical condition,) because of negligence on someones part. My thoughts and prayers are with those two young people and their families.
The only negligence I've seen is your comment about it and this forum permitting the publication of youinflammatoryry statement. UVA cannot control a bunch of children at a party with alcohol and who knows what. Maybe those houses will be put on the inspection system in the future. Those guys there are at the top of their game.

One squire stion-(no harm) I know what you meant but the word is spelled "career", lol...
Mow

Charlottesville, VA

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#7
Sep 25, 2011
 

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After careful consideration I have concluded that A. No one was at fault for this occurrence(I don't believe in accidents)B. We must keep in mind that when things like happen our society tends to want to blame someone(judeo-christian guilt complex) C. This structure was not designed for this kind of activity. So, if you want to blame someone blame the persons who house all these people in one structure this old in the first place.
Ignorant

Charlotte, NC

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#8
Sep 26, 2011
 

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chb wrote:
While I feel sorry for the two young men, I have seen parties at that frat house with 20 + people on that balcony. They were probably drinking and leaning on the railing when it gave.
You don't know what you're talking about. Whether or not they were drinking, the weight of two young men should not be able to collapse a balcony. Please remember that you are talking about someone's family member when you pass judgement on a situation that you yourself did not witness. And that these families are still having to deal with this.
Countyres

Charlottesville, VA

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#9
Sep 26, 2011
 

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I was there several weeks ago giving an estimate for leaking plumbing and noticed many structural deficiencies. I pointed out several of them to the occupants, they laughed when I told them the third floor was coming down into the second which was coming down to the first which was coming down to the basement all because of water soaked support beams. I was amazed that people could live in such squalor and filth. We decided not to bid because the scope of work was not just limited to leaking plumbing the whole building needs reahab. I am sorry for these parents pain, this didn't have to happen.
Mark

Charlottesville, VA

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#10
Sep 26, 2011
 
I'm surprised the fraternity's insurance provider didn't mandate inspections, and/or use restrictions. An article in the Hook had some who attended the party refer to the railing as decorative. If so, as others have noted, the balcony wasn't appropriate for a party location.

It's private property, so the university and/or city can't do much.(Though maybe an update to the agreement between the greek houses and the university could be modified to address mandated inspections, if that isn't already required.) But the only recourse the school would have in that case is refusing to recognize the group.

The was a sad event. Maybe there are some lessons to be learned to spot risks like this in other properties so at least some good comes out of it.

My over-whelming hope is for a full recovery for both injured students.
Doiy

Charlottesville, VA

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#11
Sep 26, 2011
 
Safety sense wrote:
The problem is that the railing must have been rotten. Railings by the current residential building codes must be able to withstand a 200-pound load applied along any point without failure of the railing. Unfortunately, these things are either grandfathered-in (since this one is probably 90 or 100 years old)or were never built to any particular building code designed to insure safety.
To insure public safety, for rental housing it would be a good idea for railings to actually be tested before rental. If the railings appear to yield under less than 200 pounds pressure, the fix would be simple; in this case a new railing could simply have been attached to the inside face of those columns to keep any pressure off the old one.
This has nothing to do with frat-boy silliness and everything to do with hidden structural defects.
So, Inspector Gadget, how much force do you suppose 5-7 grown people exert on a railing if all are leaning on it simultaneously? My bet is well over 200 lbs. The code is inadequate, even when enforced.
phorealyo

Charlottesville, VA

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#12
Sep 26, 2011
 
The taxpayers pay the salary of at least one Housing Inspector from city hall/CFD. Obviously there either needs to be more of them or they need to follow different guidelines when inspecting dwelling units occupied by multiple people.
Misfit

Dillwyn, VA

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#13
Sep 26, 2011
 
The whole building complex is ancient and rotting out. It's no wonder the railings collapsed with sone weight bearing against it. I am surprised that whole floors have not collapsed under the weight of the people that attend these parties.
Sarg

Charlottesville, VA

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#14
Sep 26, 2011
 
The building looks like a crumbling rat-hole.It is probably worthy of condemnation. According to its web-site, Pi Kappa Alpha was founded at the University of Virginia in 1868; what a shame that the Mother Chapter has come to this pass.
uva wahoo

Charlottesville, VA

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#15
Sep 26, 2011
 
Fraternity at 513 Rugby built in 1903 owned by:WEST RANGE CASTLE DANGO, LLC
uva wahoo

Charlottesville, VA

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#16
Sep 26, 2011
 
phorealyo wrote:
The taxpayers pay the salary of at least one Housing Inspector from city hall/CFD. Obviously there either needs to be more of them or they need to follow different guidelines when inspecting dwelling units occupied by multiple people.
The fraternities are privately owned. City inspectors cannot enter them anymore than they can enter our homes
well-

United States

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#17
Sep 26, 2011
 
Ignorant wrote:
<quoted text>
You don't know what you're talking about. Whether or not they were drinking, the weight of two young men should not be able to collapse a balcony. Please remember that you are talking about someone's family member when you pass judgement on a situation that you yourself did not witness. And that these families are still having to deal with this.
Did you SEE the railings on the photos? They were obviously rotted thru, so of course the guys leaning on them could collapse & break them. Scares me to death to see people leaning on or sitting on those railings! And you can drive by those houses any day & see the kids leaning over or propped up on them. Just as you would update electrical or plumbing at those extremely old buildings, they should be updating the balconies & rails. It's just plain dangerous! Wishing them both a speedy and full recovery.
phorealyo

Charlottesville, VA

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#18
Sep 26, 2011
 
uva wahoo wrote:
<quoted text>
The fraternities are privately owned. City inspectors cannot enter them anymore than they can enter our homes
News flash...they can enter your home, and they do it all the time. They are members of the Fire Department and can enter a dwelling without a warrant. Most often they concentrate on structures that have been cited before and on problem landlords.
Scene enough

Charlottesville, VA

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#19
Sep 26, 2011
 
Mozambiqueious wrote:
<quoted text>
The only negligence I've seen is your comment about it and this forum permitting the publication of youinflammatoryry statement. UVA cannot control a bunch of children at a party with alcohol and who knows what. Maybe those houses will be put on the inspection system in the future. Those guys there are at the top of their game.
One squire stion-(no harm) I know what you meant but the word is spelled "career", lol...
Well, I actually gree with her and I'm probably not the only one. You are correct that UVa cannot control a bunch of children at a party. but to call her comment negligent is not a fair, nor correct, statement. Those rainings are not safe and this is not the only instance of this kind.
Scene enough

Charlottesville, VA

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#20
Sep 26, 2011
 
Correction..railings, not rainings!

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