(EMERALD ISLE, N.C.) — Police and building inspectors are investigating what may have caused a deck to collapse at an Emerald Isle, North Carolina, beach house, injuring at least 14 people.
Preliminary findings reveal the floor joists and fasteners failed to hold the deck together, Emerald Island Town Manager Frank Rush told ABC News on Sunday. Results from the investigation could be released as early as Monday, he said.
According to Emerald Isle Police, members of a family were on a deck overlooking the ocean preparing to take a family photo shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday when the structure collapsed.
First responders from Emerald Isle arrived on scene within minutes and began treating and triaging patients, police said.
“About a 12-by-12 section of deck collapsed, about ten to twelve feet. We transported 14 patients from that collapse,” Emerald Isle Fire Chief Bill Walker said, and added that there were about 20 people on the deck at the time.
Walker said that the deck itself gave way and collapsed inward, while the pilings holding up the deck remained upright.
Due to the number of casualties involved, neighboring agencies were called in to assist in transporting and dealing with the victims. Indian Beach, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores and Western Carteret all sent Fire and EMS units to assist, while Broad and Gales Creek Fire Departments were also dispatched to provided assistance. Morehead City EMS provided a mass casualty bus to treat and transport victims.
Police said 14 people were hospitalized. Several people were in critical condition, according to police and a hospital spokeswoman.
Injuries varied from people with several broken bones to those with minor scratches and cuts, according to Walker.
At least five people remained in hospitals in Greenville or Wilmington, North Carolina, today, officials said.
Police have vacated the home, Rush said.
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