Excessive Party Poundage Proves Too-Much to Bear for Brooklyn Mansion’s Second Floor Deck
June 5th – Bushwick, Brooklyn. The deck of the Cook Mansion collapses, sending carousing partygoers crashing downwards. Sixteen such revelers were injured, and the property owner may be facing code violation charges stemming from the incident.
The Department of Buildings had been to 670 Bushwick Avenue in the proceeding months, and had performed a complete structural inspection. When signs of old age and disrepair were found, the authorities handed the building owner the appropriate violations. These violations, however, didn’t seem to be enough an impetus for the property owner, who neglected to make the necessary safety repairs.
According to sources, around 50 people were attending a party at Cook Mansion, which, despite having gained landmark status in 2013, now serves as a sectioned-off apartment building. 16 of those 50 were out on the second floor deck when it gave way, right in the middle of the festivities. Considering the nature of this accident, it’s no surprise that all of these 16 guests sustained injuries. Various reports note that some were even trapped below the wreckage for some time after the collapse. The worst of the injuries included a broken foot and a broken leg. Fortunately, though, no one was killed.
The antique mansion, which was formerly the home of 19th century brewing magnate Claus Lipsius, may’ve seemed the ideal locale for a get-together. What better combination than a palatial estate that was home to a former master brewer? According to interviewees, the mansion had, over the years, been kept relatively up-to-date with minor alterations and patchwork fixes. Despite its historic status it was, at least superficially, modern in appearance. However, when hosting a party, safety should the highest priority for everyone involved, and the structural integrity of a building should be thoroughly determined.
Keep Your Deck Well-Maintained
So, you’re throwing a party, and you don’t want to suffer the same mistake. How can you make sure that your deck is secure? What can you do to improve the safety of your outdoor architecture? What follows are some quick tips that you can follow to keep your deck up to safety standards:
- Wash it Well: Keep your deck well-washed. Removing debris solves an immediate problem: eliminating obstacles and hazards that guests might trip over or slip on. However, the real importance of keeping your deck clean is that doing so will help to prevent mold, mildew and rot. Mildew and rot will weaken the wood of your deck, which obviously increases the likelihood of dangerous breaks and collapses.
- Inspect for Rot: If rot has already set into your deck, it may not be impossible to spot-fix the problem areas. To determine wherein the rot lives, you can do a self-check using a small, flat-headed screwdriver which you can use to probe potential weak spots in your deck. Very small spots of rot can be chiseled out with said screwdriver. (As you’ll read later: if the rot in your deck is extensive, it’s imperative you call a professional!)
- Check for Cracks: Equally as dangerous as rot are outright cracks. Changes in weather and other outside factors can sometimes cause cracks in your railings, your floorboards, and your foundation. The good news is: a cracked beam can be replaced. But don’t wait until it’s too late! If you see a crack you must take care of it immediately, not after disaster strikes.
- Choose the Right Cleanser: Whether you have a PVC / Wood / or Composite deck determines what type of cleaning solution you should use to wash your deck. Wood decks usually require specialty deck cleaners, whereas PVC decks can be cleaned with a simple warm water and soap solution.
- Seal Your Deck in Spring: Your deck may require sealing / waterproofing. Sealers and stains will be available in your local home improvement stores and can lengthen the lifespan of your deck.
- Trim Back Branches: Branches that overhang onto your deck may drop hazardous brambles or, in more serious situations, whole branches, which could injure you or your family. If possible, trim branches down to a level where they don’t pose this danger.
Of course, it is also helpful to get regular inspections by licensed professionals. Especially before throwing a party, when a deck will be performing more load-bearing than it’s generally accustomed to. Architectural professionals will determine whether or not your deck is strong and safe enough to host guests on. Remember: when in doubt, call a pro.
Kaplan Lawyers PC
It’s the summer season which, for a lot of homeowners, means cookouts, pool parties and other backyard celebrations. If you’re hosting a party, and someone is injured, you may be held liable. And if you’ve been injured in an architectural accident, and someone else’s neglect is to blame, it may be within your rights to sue. In either case, enormous amounts of compensatory money are at stake. So if you find yourself in a legal situation, it’s of paramount importance that you retain the counsel of New York’s premier injury law firm. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we offer the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys in the Tri-State area. If you’re unsure of your rights, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC today for a free and easy consultation.