N.C. deck collapse is latest in dangerous string

A deck collapse at a July 4 party in North Carolina is one of the latest in a string of the accidents.

CBS News

A Fourth of July family party quickly turned to panic when the deck on a North Carolina beach house suddenly collapsed. Two dozen people were hurt, two of them critically.

Wooden beams and broken timbers, what's left from the screened-in deck in Emerald Isle, N.C.

Family from across the country had gathered at a vacation rental for a fun July 4th weekend. As they posed for a group picture, the deck collapsed, crashing some ten feet down. Jackie Starkey of the Carteret County News-Times was the first reporter to arrive.

"That left part of the second story screen deck, the whole floor just completely fell through," she said.

A neighbor called 911 and told the dispatcher to send as many crews as possible. Police say 24 people went to the local hospital for treatment. Five people in such serious condition, they were transferred to other hospitals.

"It's very critical injuries, multiple bone fractures, concerns about spinal issues," said a hospital spokesman.

Last night in Utah, four people got hurt, out on a deck with eleven others when it gave way.

These kinds of collapses are especially shocking when they're caught on camera. Like a photo opp gone wrong on prom night in 2012 in Churubusco, Ind.

A year later, in the same state, another deck failed, during a family picture just before Christmas.

Last month, six people were killed when a balcony gave way in Berkeley, Calif. Investigators there focused on the dry rot of the wooden support beams. In North Carolina, they say the deck fasteners were deteriorating.

Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found 21 instances where people got hurt when decks collapsed.