Three people who were taken to a hospital Friday night after a deck collapsed in Westbrook have been treated and released, according to the Westbrook Fire Department.

Westbrook Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte said in a telephone interview Sunday evening that eight people were evaluated at the scene for injuries and declined medical treatment, and three other people were taken to the hospital. None of the injuries was critical.

About 24 people were present Friday evening for a family gathering at 792 Cumberland St., according to Turcotte. He said 15 people were standing on the deck when a section of it pulled away from the building and collapsed, causing 10 of them to fall to the ground – a distance of approximately 12 feet.

The incident could have been a lot worse if everyone at the gathering had been standing on the deck, Turcotte said. The Westbrook Fire Department posted photographs of the destruction caused by the collapse on its Facebook page.

The photos show a planked portion of the deck folded in a downward position with debris, including a piano, at the bottom of the collapsed section. They also show the section of the deck that remained intact, including a grill, chairs and deck railing.

“There were some structural issues that caused the deck to pull away from the building,” Turcotte said.


The 30-foot-long deck is attached to the rear of the ranch-style home and most likely was incapable of bearing the amount of weight placed on it by the people standing there, according to Turcotte. The official cause of the collapse remains under investigation, he said.

Deck collapses are fairly common in the United States. In May, 11 people were injured when a deck collapsed during a birthday party at a Tennessee restaurant, The Associated Press reported. About 40 people were on the deck and fell when it collapsed. Of the 11 people taken to hospitals, two had critical injuries.

Also in May, as many as 15 adults were standing on a balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, California, when it collapsed, sending them tumbling onto rocks below, the AP reported. Four people were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Five others were evaluated at the scene but declined to be transported.

And the AP reported that in late June, six people were taken to a hospital after a deck separated from a townhouse in Germantown, Maryland, and collapsed. Nine people were on the deck barbecuing when the structure gave way.

Turcotte said the onus of inspecting a deck’s structural integrity lies primarily with the landlord or property owner. The city’s code enforcement office does inspect new construction. Homeowners and landlords are encouraged to inspect exterior weight-bearing structures annually.

“If you are uncertain what to look for as signs of danger, contact a reputable contractor or the Westbrook Code Enforcement office,” the fire department said.

Nearly 6,000 decks collapse in the United States every year, according to the Westbrook Fire Department.

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