Local inspectors warns Rochester residents about deck safety

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – On Monday, a deck collapsed in South East Rochester, injuring and trapping two Rochester residents. Luckily, there were no life threatening injuries in that collapse and no damage to the rest of the home. In light of that, FOX 47 crews looked into what to watch out for.

Deck screws. In his 25 years inspecting Minnesota homes, Herb Castle has seen half a dozen deck collapses like the one Monday night. While the cause in that incident is not totally clear at this point, there are some common elements when it comes to structures coming down.

“Maintenance is such an important thing in our houses,” Castle said. “And decks often get overlooked.”

Often times, home owners don’t see it coming, but there are a few things to keep an eye out for.

“Rotting wood is a big one. Looking at your joist hangers, making sure there’s no rust on them. Things like that,” Castle said. “When you push on your guards, a lot of times if there’s a big movement, they need to be refastened.”

Decks – and homes – should be checked annually. In snowy states, it’s a good idea to do that in the spring.MNSIS Inspector Herb Castle.

“We get that snow load on there with the thaw and freezing,” Castle explained. “It goes back and forth, you’ll get those nails that will start popping and just the wood in general will start deteriorating.”

And grills? As hard as it is, keep them off the deck.

“Decks are flammable, keep them off the deck, its a big safety issue,” Castle said.

If you’re not sure, ask.

“If you don’t know yourself, we’ve got great inspectors around,” Castle said. “The fee is, I would say $100. That’s pretty cheap for the safety of your family.”

The residents involved in Monday’s collapse are back at home and being treated for injuries.

A wooden deck in Rochester getting checked by an inspector.
Beret Leone

Beret Leone

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