More than one and a half million dollars will be paid out to students who were hurt when a balcony collapsed in Isla Vista. This comes after three years after the incident happened during Deltopia weekend in 2013.
Thousands of students and visitors partied that weekend in the small college town. Many people were going from one party to another on Del Playa Drive. One of the party locations was 6643 Del Playa Drive.
About twenty people were standing on the second floor balcony when it collapsed. Several people were transported to a nearby hospital.
The tenants in the property blamed their landlord for neglecting to fix the balcony.
Reporter Vicky Nguyen spoke exclusively with Ron Wolfe, the owner of Wolfe & Associates Property Services. The business is located in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara. The Wolfe Family has been in business for over 60 years, renting and managing numerous properties in the area. Many of the residents are UC Santa Barbara students.
Wolfe expresses his sympathy for the students involved. However, he stands by his records.
“There were physical inspections of the deck by insurance inspectors a month before the deck collapsed that noted the deck was sturdy and there were no safety problems around the property,” said Wolfe.
He stresses that there were about 700 inspections conducted at that property, alone, and none of the inspectors ever mentioned anything about the deck not meeting Santa Barbara County codes and regulations.
We reached out to the county’s planning and zoning department.
“We provide inspections for buildings under construction, we provide periodic inspections on various phases of construction. Once the construction is completed, we do not provide additional inspections,” said Massoud Abolhoda, a deputy director for the county.
Wolfe the deck collapsed due to many reasons. There were too many people on the balcony at the time.
“The failure of the deck was due to a combinations of factors that involved a lack of initial engineering, not building that deck to code per the approved county plans and the intrusion of water that was created by improper flashing,” said Wolfe.
He goes on to say that he values the businesses and relationships that he’s built with residents in the area. Wolfe agreed to the interview to set the record straight and tell his side of the story.
“We’re not in the business to be taking care of slumlord types of properties. We work very hard to maintain these properties and keep them good so it’s safe for residents,” said Wolfe.