ANDOVER — Residents of the condominium complex at 18 Dale St. are being told to stay off their decks after one of them collapsed Wednesday afternoon.
No injuries were reported. Fire Chief Michael Mansfield, whose department and a building inspector went to the scene at around 3:30 p.m., said, "The deck partially collapsed due to structural deficiency."
Isra Hashmi lives on the first floor of building 8, where the third-floor deck above her home collapsed. The property manager installed sheets of plywood in front of the door to her deck and the entry to the basement. Tarps cover the bedroom windows.
Her son, Eissa Albinali, 12, was at his computer in his bedroom working on an Arabic lesson when he saw the deck falling.
"I heard some noises," said Eissa, a seventh-grader at West Middle School. "I thought someone was doing something upstairs. Then I saw that a beam was cracking so I told my mom."
Hashmi was sitting in the living room when the collapse happened.
"We heard it cracking. I wasn't sure what it was," she said. "My heart dropped," she said, when she discovered the deck had fallen.
Hashmi said she thinks the building was constructed in 2006.
Both the condominium association and management company were alerted, Mansfield said. They came up with a short-term plan that allows residents to stay in their condos. They must stay away from the decks, however, he said.
"Everything has been cordoned off," Mansfield said. A structural engineer must develop a repair plan, he added.
Deck collapses of this nature are not something Andover firefighters regularly see, he said.
Gary Patch, who owns several units in the complex, said a crew will be working on repairing the damage very soon.
"It came away from the building," he said of the deck collapse. He pointed out that residents are still in their condos even though they have to avoid the decks until further notice.
"They didn't condemn the place," he said.