The six students who died in a Berkeley, Calif., apartment balcony collapse never should have crowded onto the balcony, said an ex-city official.
The students -- 5 of whom are Irish, were at the Library Gardens apartment complex celebrating the birthday of a female student, who is among the dead.
The balcony collapsed under the weight of the students sending them plunging four floors to the street below, the NY Daily News reports. 7 other students suffered stable to critical injuries.
Former city official Carrie Olson said the balcony was not designed to hold 13 people at one time. Olson, who served 14-years on the city's review committee, said the small balcony was only designed to hold one or 2 people to get a breath of fresh air.
“It was definitely not large enough to be what the city would call an ‘open space balcony,’ where groups of people could stand outside,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“It seems that those students were just doing what young people do, crowding onto a balcony,” she said. “That’s just what kids do.
Firefighters red-tagged balconies in two others buildings as well Liberty Gardens. The balconies in the other buildings were removed to repair rotting wood and replaced.
“Both required extensive repairs, and the (owners associations) have now settled for millions of dollars to remedy the problems,” said attorney Tom Miller.
Olson said she abstained from voting to approve the building in 2001.
“That building was difficult to love,” she said. “It’s bland, and in fact we used it as an example of what not to build.”