Lawsuits filed on behalf of a dozen Irish victims of last June's fatal apartment balcony collapse in Berkeley allege that property managers had been alerted to signs of structural rot nearly seven years before the tragedy.
Six people were killed and seven seriously injured early the morning of June 16 when a fifth-floor balcony at the Library Gardens apartment complex collapsed. The 13 victims, mostly Irish students visiting Berkeley on a summer-abroad program, fell about 40 feet to the street below.
An investigation afterward found that the wooden beams designed to support the balcony failed because of advanced dry rot.
The 12 lawsuits -- one, for victim Niall Murray, is embedded below -- allege that the series of events that led to the collapse began when the balcony for Apartment 405 was under construction.
The complaints allege that contractors, including Pleasanton-based Segue Construction and its subcontractors, left the balcony structure open after it was built in late 2005, a period during which it was exposed to prolonged precipitation -- 13 inches of rainfall on 21 separate days. As a result, the suits say, the framing and oriented strand board decking on the balcony floor were saturated with water before contractors began the process of waterproofing the structure.