KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) - No police report, no fire report, and no one is claiming responsibility. If it hadn't been for a few 2 NEWS viewers sending pictures, chances are good you never would have known about a balcony collapse injuring three people.
It was a dangerous wake-up call that Erika Sprat said she could see coming. She told 2 NEWS Investigates, "You could walk there and just see by looking up the decks did not look safe."
For two years Sprat and her husband lived at Georgetown of Kettering in the 4800 block of Far Hills Avenue, but she says during that time they only used their deck twice. When she became pregnant they decided to move out.
Erika: You could tell it was deteriorating the wood around the sides and it was getting worse and worse and no repairs were made.
Pam: Within two years nobody did anything to make it more secure?
Erika: No. Not at all.
Pam: And you know for sure management knew about it?
Erika: Multiple times. They even had a checklist where they'd even mark it on their checklist that it was a repair that needed to be done and never was ever done.
On June 14 a deck collapsed not far from where Sprat and her husband had been living. Three peole were hurt when the deck above Chris Specht's apartment gave way.
Specht told 2 NEWS Investigates, "I was driving down 75 probably 30 minutes away and my friend Sabrina sent me a text picture of the balcony collapse and so I came home saw what had happened probably 30 minutes prior, just complete shock."
No one claimed responsibility, and more than three months later, that still seems to be the case. In December 2012 The Connor Group sold Georgetown of Kettering to APM Management. Both are Ohio companies.
Calls and emails to APM have gone unanswered since the deck collapsed. I did hear back from The Connor Group but the spokesman did not believe an on-camera interview was appropriate since the company was not the owner at time of the incident. He did tell 2 NEWS Investigates in a five-year period The Connor Group spent $90,000 on decks, and between 2010 and 2012 a total of $1.6 million was spent on improvements throughout the complex.
Still if you look at apartmentratings.com you see a history of complaints and a picture of a deck giving way. There is also a comment from the property manager dated June 15 that says, "As far as the recent incident, 3 guys that were on that deck, were in my office 5 minutes after it happened. The worst injury was a very minor scratch on a forearm."
The day of the deck collapse 2 NEWS was told three people were taken to the hospital,one with a head injury. One of those injured told 2 NEWS Investigates late today that he has an attorney looking at the situation, and he will be moving out of Georgetown within a week.
The City of Kettering's senior building inspector, Kip Bohacheck, told 2 NEWS Investigates, "Ultimately it's the owner's responsibility."
Pam: It's kind of scary if you live in an apartment complex and you have a deck and it took something like this to get them to respond.
Kip: Sometimes it takes a little extra action to get the reaction you're looking for.
After the collapse, APM hired an outside engineering firm to investigate all the decks and recommend repairs.
2 NEWS Investigates obtained a copy of the engineer's report. It states, "...the deck collapse was caused by the fasteners to the wood block failure due to the deteriorated condition of the wood blocking." Basically, the wood had deteriorated.
The report dated July 8 indicates two decks need to be totally replaced and the 82 others have connections that should be replaced or strengthened this season.
Three months later the decks are not done.
"I was really left in the dark. They never gave me any idea why it happened. It's really left a bad taste in mouth. And from there on you hope you live in a safe environment, but you just never know," said Specht.
Pam: Could this have been prevented?
Kip: Could have been prevented if they had understood what they were anchoring to when they fixed the deck the first time.
A permit is needed to build a new deck, and that's a record you can check. The City of Kettering told 2 NEWS Investigates there are no public records on repairs, so renters have no way of knowing if decks are safe. Property maintenance inspectors do go out on systematic checks every three to five years or more often when they know of complaints.
The City of Kettering promises to follow up, and 2 NEWS Investigates will be checking.
Trotwood-Madison school officials prepare for snow with their football team headed to Massillon for the state championship game.
Waynesville rescue crews rescued nine people after a minivan slammed into a house.
Clayton police are investigating a possible OVI crash.
Firefighters evacuated the Northmont High School auditorium Wednesday night after smoke filled the auditorium.
A Winter Storm Watch will take effect late Thursday night through late Friday night for most of the area.