City investigating balcony collapse in Soulard

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - A deck that collapsed injuring five people during Mardi Gras celebrations in Soulard on Saturday appears to be missing critical bolts. The St. Louis City Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said Monday it appears there were no lag bolts. Those bolts hold the ledger board against the building. Oswald said there also may have been some stress on the exterior of the deck because it looks as if it pulled away rather than falling straight down.

Jonathan Donez was on the deck at the time of the collapse. He said there were "six people on the deck maybe seven tops.”  The owner of the property Youth, Education and Health in Soulard, a not-for-profit organization, said the agency was waiting to hear from its insurance company.

YEHS has operated rental property in the Soulard neighborhood for decades. According to the city the four unit townhouse was built-in the early 80s with city permits. Oswald said his department takes a proactive approach to overcrowded decks and balconies during Mardi Gras. He said "on a regular basis we will have 6 to 8 building inspectors down there and they are teamed up with police officers.”  The teams will tell revelers to limit the number of people on the deck or balcony for safety reasons. But normally they are small balconies on the front of turn-of-the-century buildings not 30-year-old town houses with wooden decks on the rear. No inspectors saw the deck before it collapsed Saturday at 4:40 PM. According to the Saint Louis City Fire Department none of the injuries were life-threatening.