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Building Official Addresses Inspection Report In Shuckers Deck Collapse

NORTH BAY VILLAGE (CBS4) -  The Chief Building Official for North Bay Village admitted Monday afternoon the city is no closer to determining what caused the deck at Shuckers Bar and Grill to give way than they were on Thursday night when dozens of people spilled into Biscayne Bay while watching Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

"The only thing we can tell you is that it collapsed," Raul Rodriguez said in a press conference called days after the accident.

The structural integrity of the aging deck has been called into question.

"I assume that it was inspected," Rodriguez said without certainty.

"There was a 40-year certification report by an engineer which certified, under his professional opinion, that the building and structure were safe. That in my view includes the deck. So we relied on that report and we accepted that report," he said.

Rodriguez signed off on that report, which includes several color photos  of the deck that buckled last week.

"My view is that the fact that he put pictures in the report, he should have  inspected. If he did not get paid for it, the way I see it. The deck is part of it," the chief building official explained.

When asked if he blamed the engineer who inspected the structure, Rodriguez said, "I'm not blaming anyone."

"He's an expert. He's the engineer," Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps said defending Rodriguez's comments.

The mayor reluctant to answer questions at the press conference, but eventually said the city will review its inspection procedures to keep something like this from happening again.

"All of us are concerned," Leon-Kreps said. "Shouldn't you be?"

In 2010, Shuckers' owner, Charles Grenter, was issued a Class I Construction Permit to rebuild the deck.

The project description outlined on the permit called for a deck that shall be "25 foot wide by 108.25 foot long... and supported by 27 concrete support piles and 9 concrete pile caps".

Records show that permit expired on February 17, 2013.

When pressed about the maximum capacity for the deck, Rodriguez said he's not sure how many people the deck was designed to carry.

He said he noticed exposed corroded steel when evaluating the site on Friday morning.

"Do I have any regrets? Of course," Rodriguez said. "The regret is that people got hurt."

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