The shoddy balcony that collapsed under the weight of thirteen people early Tuesday morning in Berkeley was the work of an East Bay construction firm that already paid $6.5 million in a pair of lawsuits two years ago, also related to balconies that prematurely rotted and fell off of buildings. As the Chronicle reports, Pleasanton-based Segue Construction was responsible for the apartment building dubbed Library Gardens at 2020 Kittredge Street, where two balconies that may have been primarily decorative are now believed to have suffered rotting from dry rot and become structurally unsafe. The second, lower balcony, onto which the upper one fell on Tuesday, has now been red-tagged.
The tragedy took the lives of six Irish students, all of whom traveled here as part of a traditional Irish right of passage on J-1 visas and were celebrating someone's 21st birthday. The six dead are Ashley Donohoe, Oliva Burke, Eimeair Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, and Lorcan Miller.
It seems clear that Segue Construction will have to answer for a lot with regard to this incident, and will likely face further lawsuits. The incident is still being investigated.
Meanwhile, the Irish Independent found it upsetting that less than 24 hours after this tragedy, which has been felt deeply across Ireland and the Irish-American community here, the Bay Area erupted in jubilant celebrations over the Warriors' win in the NBA Finals. "The fact that San Francisco International Airport was lit up with blue and gold, the Golden State Warrior's colours, as devastated parents and siblings were touching down from Dublin is a particularly chilling juxtaposition," the paper writes.
Today, also, one of the seven injured students who were also on the balcony spoke publicly, and the Independent quotes him saying, "Thanks everyone for the support in such a dark time RIP."
Previously: 6 Killed In Berkeley Balcony Collapse, 7 Injured