Also from Berkeleyside, here are some details on the owner of the Library Gardens development:
Library Gardens is a relatively new building. It is owned by Greystar, a large apartment developer and manager.
Greystar, a Houston-based developer and real-estate management company that owns or manages more than 400,000 apartments around the country, owns and manages five apartment complexes in Berkeley, including Berkeley Central on Center Street, Hillside Village Apartments at 1797 Shattuck Ave. and Telegraph Commons Apartments at 2490 Channing Way. Greystar also owns The Varsity building at 2024 Durant Ave., which is scheduled to open in July.
Here's more via the latest Associated Press account of the tragedy:
By Kristin J. Bender
BERKELEY — A fourth-floor balcony crammed with partygoers celebrating a 21st birthday collapsed early Tuesday near the University of California's Berkeley campus, killing six people and seriously injuring seven — many if not all of them Irish students visiting the U.S. over the summer.
Police and fire and building officials were investigating the cause of the tragedy.
The roughly 5-by-10-foot balcony with metal railings and a concrete floor snapped off the side of the stucco apartment building just after 12:30 a.m. It tipped downward and landed on the 3rd-floor balcony below, spilling victims onto the pavement.
"I just heard a bang and a lot of shouting," said Dan Sullivan, a 21-year-old student from Ireland who was asleep in the five-story building. Mark Neville, another Irish student in the building, said: "I walked out and I saw rubble on the street and a bunch of Irish students crying."
Police had gotten a complaint about a loud party in the apartment about an hour before the accident but had not yet arrived when the balcony gave way, police spokesman Officer Byron White said. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said police told him 13 people were on the balcony.
All least five of the dead were Irish students in the country on so-called J-1 visas that enable young people to work and travel in the U.S. over the summer, Ireland's foreign minister said.
The U.S. government's J-1 program brings 100,000 college students to the U.S. every year, with many of them working at seasonal labor at resorts. The San Francisco Bay area is especially popular with Irish students.
Sinead Loftus, 21, who attends Trinity College Dublin and is living this summer in a different apartment in Berkeley, said a few hundred Irish college students from many schools head to the area to work and travel. Berkeley, she said, is "the Irish hub."
"It's student-friendly, it's warm and it's a lot cheaper than San Francisco," she said. In fact, she said, "I've heard people complain there are too many people from Ireland here."
The Library Gardens apartment complex where the tragedy happened is a couple of blocks from the Berkeley campus and a popular place for students to live. After the accident, city building inspectors barred use of the balconies while they are checked for safety.
The apartments were built in 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported. The complex is managed by Greystar Management, whose website says the company operates more than 400,000 units in the U.S. and abroad. A call to Greystar officials was not immediately returned.
Within hours of the accident, small makeshift memorials with flowers sprang up on the pavement.
"My heart breaks for the parents who lost children this morning, and I can only imagine the fear in the hearts of other parents whose children are in California this summer as they seek to contact them now," Ireland's prime minister told lawmakers in Dublin.
"It is truly terrible to have such a serious and sad incidence take place at the beginning of a summer of adventure and opportunity for so many young people on J1 visas in the U.S."
Jerry Robinson, who lives near the apartment complex, told San Francisco news station KGO-TV that he had just gotten out of a movie when two hysterical people flagged down his car asking for a ride to a hospital to check on injured friends.
"They were friends of the people who were on the balcony. A couple of the women did not have shoes. One of the women had blood on her knees," he said.
The J-1 program allows foreign college students to spend up to four months living and working in the U.S. It was meant to foster cultural understanding but has become a booming, multimillion-dollar international business.
A 2010 Associated Press investigation found that many participants paid thousands of dollars to come to the U.S., only to learn the jobs they were promised didn't exist. Some had to share beds in crowded houses or filthy apartments.
The AP found that some of the sponsoring companies used unscrupulous third-party contractors to line up jobs and housing for the students.