Weirs deck that collapsed on Saturday, injuring a dozen, was just 10 years old

LACONIA — Records from the city Planning Department show the wooden deck that collapsed at 17 Simpson Ave. Saturday afternoon with about a dozen people on board was built in late 2003.

The permit was issued for the 10-foot by 22-foot deck on December 8,2003 after a December 4 approval by the code enforcement officer. The deck plans included a sliding glass door to the main portion of the house and a set of stairs to access it. The house, according to tax records, was built in 1880.

Deputy Fire Chief Deb Pendergast said yesterday the wooden deck appeared to have separated from the building and collapsed in the middle, sending people crashing into each other as the structure fell. She said it was about eight feet off the ground.

Seven were taken by ambulance to Lakes Region General Hospital, including one child.

Ambulances from Laconia, Gilford, and Meredith EMS responded to the collapse. Injuries varied from compound fractures to bruising and at least one head injury however Pendergast said none of the injuries appear life-threatening.

According to Pendergast there were about 12 people on the deck when it collapsed at 5:37 p.m. Saturday. She said there was a grill and people were on the deck cooking but she was unsure if any of the victims were burned.

She said one of the people who was at the home is a firefighter/paramedic who is employed in Maine and he was able to assist the people who fell and determine who was the most seriously injured while ambulances and local emergency personnel were responding.

Pendergast does not know if the Maine firefighter was among those who were on the deck went it buckled.

She said firefighters needed to back ambulances down Simpson Avenue one at a time in order to load the victims. She said Simpson Avenue is part of the private Methodist Circle portion of the Weirs which is accessible from Centenary Avenue.

She said fire engines were unable to get to the property that is at the end of Simpson Avenue and right on the water.

Tax records indicate the house is owned by Patricia Marchetti of Shirley, Massachusetts who purchased it in 2007. She is the second person to own the home since the deck was added.

She said the city code enforcement officer is investigating the collapse and the N.H. Fire Marshals Office has been notified. She said the fire marshal is told about all partial building collapses.