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Deck collapses: Building inspector condemns home

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Updated: 7/05/2013 3:43 pm
NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla.-- Less than 24 hours after the front deck of a Neptune Beach home collapsed, injuring eight people and sending four to the hospital, those living inside are being forced out.

"We're worried about the safety of the people still living in here, so he is posting it and giving the residents 48 hours to vacate. The balconies that haven't fallen, the ones that are still up there, are in danger of falling," said Neptune Beach Police Chief David Sembach.

[Slideshow: Neptune Beach deck collapse]

The city's building inspector, Don Ford, returned to the home early Friday morning to continue his investigation. Sembach says it could have been prevented. "Had it been properly maintained ... It shouldn't have fallen. There's rotten wood. There's also what he tells me is not structural grade lumber used to build them," he said.

One Jacksonville Beach man, Al Kellerman, says he can't believe the balconies haven't been fixed sooner. "I'm just looking at the wood right now and it's rotted," says Kellerman.

We wanted to know the same thing. We knocked on the homeowner, Ernest Russell Jr.'s, door. There was no answer. But we spotted a man around the corner. He saw our cameras and took off. We later confirmed with neighbors and residents that it is Russell.

Meanwhile Kellerman says he thinks deck inspections should become a mandatory thing. "Yearly. It should be a mandatory look at. Just to save this from happening because people can die," he says.

The injuries were all minor, because Sembach says if it were another floor up, it could've been much worse.
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