Balcony Collapse In Berkeley Kills 5 Students, Wounds 8 Othersnewser

(NEWSER) – In what should be a wake-up call for property owners, investigators believe the horrific balcony accident that killed six young people and injured seven in Berkeley, Calif., yesterday was caused by a "classic case of dry rot"—even though the building was less than 10 years old.

A civil engineer who inspected the scene tells the Los Angeles Times that the fourth-floor balcony should have been able to support the weight of 13 people, even if they were football players jumping up and down, but water appears to have seeped in and "totally compromised" the wooden beams holding up the balcony. Officials say the apartment complex was completed in 2007 and three other balconies there have been red-tagged, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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