Tybee Deck Collapse Update - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

3/29/2004

Tybee Deck Collapse Update

Imagine being all dressed up for prom, stopping to take some pictures and ending up at the hospital. That's exactly what happened to some Savannah Christian students on Friday night at Tybee Island when the deck they were standing just came crashing down.

Inspectors were surveying the location that could have turned deadly for a bunch of high schoolers and their parents. What was supposed to act as a back drop for prom photos, managed to give way right beneath their feet.

"They're all getting dressed up to go to prom and there was some other folks that came with their parents. The view from the balcony with the ocean, we were talking pictures of all the kids for the prom and the next thing I know there's no floor," said Dwight Feemster, the man who rented the house for the weekend.

The man who rented this house for the weekend said he really didn't have and cause for concern because he rented it last year. Now Dwight Feemster can only speculate what happened. He, his wife and his daughter were on the balcony when it gave way and says although he and his daughter are okay, his wife had to be admitted, but that wasn't the worst of it.

"Another lady's got a crushed heel, she's going to have to have some surgery, another gentleman took a blow to the face," said Feemster.

While the amount of weight could have been a contributing factor, Dwight says there were no warnings as to how many people the balcony could hold, nor did he feel there were enough people up there that night, to cause it to collapse. "I'm just thankful nobody was hurt any worse than they were you know, I thank the Lord for that."

Of the nine people sent to the hospital, one still remains.

WTOC spoke with building inspectors and they say the structure met the code requirements of 1995 and was not in violation when the balcony was added to the house in 1998. Even though there are tighter restrictions for balconies, they only apply for structures built after the year 2000.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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