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Apartment building with staircase death had earlier collapse

FOLSOM, Calif. (AP) — A falling staircase that killed a tenant at a Northern California apartment building was due to be repaired after another set of steps collapsed a year ago, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Permit applications were filed in recent months for landing repairs at The Legends at Willow Creek, and at least one staircase was propped up with temporary wooden beams, the newspaper said (http://bit.ly/1RboSBZ ).

The 280-unit apartment complex 20 miles east of Sacramento was built in 2001.

A 27-year-old tenant was killed Friday afternoon when the outdoor steps connecting second- and third-story landings collapsed. His name hasn’t been released pending notification of relatives.

Vinod Thirumurthy said he and another resident tried to move the concrete slabs that crushed the man, but he had stopped breathing.

Thirumurthy, who lives with his family on the first floor of the building, said he feels unsafe.

“I go underneath that staircase every day,” Thirumurthy said. “As soon as the management speaks with us, I want to vacate as soon as possible.”

Staircases in at least two other buildings were unstable, other residents told the Bee.

Eugene Asare pointed out wooden supports holding up the staircase to a second-floor landing. Workers have been repairing it for about two weeks and he can feel the steps vibrate when he climbs, Asare said.

“If it drops, this is not going to do anything,” he said, pointing to a wooden beam.

Another staircase collapsed about a year ago, said Larry Kamer, a spokesman for the building owners. Nobody was hurt in that accident.

Kamer said work was underway to reinforce all the staircases in the apartment complex, and the steps that collapsed Friday had been high on the repair list.

All staircases were inspected Friday evening and those needing repair will be temporarily shored up until permanent fixes can be made, Kamer said.

He also said residents concerned about safety will be housed in hotels or guest quarters until repairs are made.

The accident follows the June 16 collapse of a balcony at an apartment building in Berkeley that killed six people and injured seven. City officials said water damage had rotted the balcony’s wooden support beams.

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Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com

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