San Francisco Chronicle assistant metro editor Bill Hutchinson reports that no criminal charges will be filed after a nine-month investigation into a balcony collapse that killed six students in Berkeley, Calif.
Authorities said the investigation failed to show “gross or reckless conduct” in the construction and maintenance of the apartment complex.
The incident occurred last June. The fifth-floor balcony was filled with revelers attending a birthday celebration when it gave way and plummeted to the ground. Hutchinson writes:
Lawsuits filed in November on behalf of the students and their families said builders used cheaper “strand board” instead of plywood to construct the balcony, that other builders failed to waterproof the deck and that landlords ignored mushrooms growing on the deck that were an “unambiguous red flag” of dangerous rot. A year before the collapse, the suit said, the owners ignored signs that the balcony had begun to tilt away from the side of the building.