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Thirteen injured in deck collapse in Covington

deckcollapse7COVINGTON Four people remained hospitalized Monday with injuries sustained when the third-floor deck of a West Covington condominium collapsed just after the start of Sunday’s Riverfest fireworks. Thirteen people were injured and taken to three hospitals. Nine four adults and five teen-agers were released Sunday after being treated for cuts and other minor injuries.

The Covington Housing Department was investigating the accident at 1232 Riverview Place, Covington Fire Capt. Dave Flege said Monday. Housing department officials could not be reached Monday because of the Labor Day holiday.

As far as we know right now, some people came out on the balcony right after the fireworks started, shortly after 9 p.m., Capt. Flege said. The third-floor balcony collapsed to the second-floor balcony, and the people all fell to the ground.

Officials hadn’t determined how many people were on each deck.

Still in the hospital were:

” Kristi Hacker, 17, of Cincinnati, at St. Elizabeth Medical Center South in Edgewood with a badly injured wrist.

” Paula Wagner, 19, of Green Township, at University Hospital in serious condition.

” Josh Logan, 20, address unknown, also at University Hospi tal, in fair condition.

” Damita Harris, 17, of Cincinnati, at St. Elizabeth Medical Center North in Covington with a fractured pelvis, ingood condition.

Nine other people were treated at St. Elizabeth North and South and released. Five were juveniles the hospital would not name. The others were: Leah Schroeder, 19, Edgewood; Shawn Baker, 19, Hamilton; Michael Jones, 21, Cincinnati; and Anthony Jackson, 23, Newport.

Capt. Flege said decks are inspected by the city when they are built.

Covington City Manager Greg Jarvis said inspecting existing decks on a routine basis would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

We don’t go back and do that kind of inspection for every unit. We just don’t have the resources to do that on a regular basis, Mr. Jarvis said.

Susanne Bonfiglio, 31, of Latonia, said she and her husband, Mike, were at a family outing watching the fireworks at the nearby Hathaway Court senior citizens apartment complex when she heard a loud crack.

It sounded like a tree falling, Mrs. Bonfiglio said Monday. I turned around and saw people falling and heard them screaming.

Mrs. Bonfiglio said her husband and other people scaled a wall to get to where the people were lying on a hill behind the condominium.

One girl said she couldn’t feel anything, and all of them were moaning and saying they were in pain, she said. Other people were screaming to call 911. Pretty soon, we heard the sirens, and just within a few minutes, the ambulances started arriving.

Mike Hegge, 13, of Taylor Mill, was with his father, Rick, at a friend’s house nearby when the deck collapsed.

The fireworks had only been going on for about two minutes, and then we saw people running from the side of the (condominium) and screaming that a balcony fell, Mike said.

My dad ran over there and tried to help some of the people. They were all breathing, but some of them had blood on them and you could tell some of them were hurt pretty bad, he said.

Kay Burton of Covington lives in the same building where the accident occurred.

She said two of her grandchildren were at the party in the condominium where the deck collapsed.

Mrs. Burton would not give her grandchildren’s names, but said neither was badly hurt.

We just feel fortunate that it wasn’t worse, she said.

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