GRAND FORKS — Boards blocked off the inside of glass sliding doors of an apartment unit in southwest Grand Forks on Monday, closing off the spot where a balcony collapsed early Saturday, sending five people plummeting four stories.
All five people were in stable condition Saturday, according to according to Colin Bates, supervisor of Investors Management & Marketing, which oversees the complex, but Lt. Travis Benson of the Grand Forks Police Department said Monday there was no update on their condition.
In the wake of a possible structural failure, residents are being asked to stay off the balconies at McEnroe Place apartments, 3880 Garden View Drive, as the investigation continues, according to Bates.
Landon Kucera, who lives in a separate building in the complex, said the incident was unnerving for him and many neighbors. Small splinters of wood remained on the sidewalk Monday below where the balcony had fallen.
“Our first priority is the safety of our residents,” said a statement from Jon Strinden, president of EVI McEnroe Apartments LLC. “This unfortunate incident will be thoroughly investigated. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured individuals and for their rapid recovery.”
Bates said the complex will take appropriate actions as the investigation continues.
“We’re hoping that it’s just a single, isolated incident but, just to be safe right now, we’re asking them to stay off the decks,” Bates said.
Officers, paramedics and firefighters were already at the apartments on an unrelated call concerning people stuck on a jammed elevator when a balcony on the front of the building collapsed at 2:33 a.m.
Lt. Travis Benson of the Grand Forks Police Department said the response time to the balcony collapse was faster since responders already were present, but more crews were called to the scene. The five people were treated at Altru Hospital, a press release said.
City inspector Tom Franklin said the investigation is ongoing but the building may have had structural damage and some of the wood underneath the deck was rotten. He said investigators may have a clearer picture about the cause by Wednesday.
Franklin said inspectors check on engineering plans when a building is constructed and the apartments were up to code when built in 2009. He said inspectors check on apartments once every five years through the rental inspection program, but inspectors focus mainly on safety issues, such as cleanliness and fire alarms.
“Something like that, the deck that was on there, the components wouldn’t have been something we were able to see because they were covered up with metal,” he said. “They have metal sheeting on it which would have prevented us from seeing structural problems at that point.”
Franklin said he couldn’t rule out weight impacting the collapse, either. The decks are only 18 inches wide.
The 67-unit complex, which is owned by Edgewood Real Estate Investment Trust, was worth $8.7 million in 2018, the county assessor’s office said. Apartments range in price from $700 from to $1,655, according to the company’s website.