Deck collapses under family taking annual picture in Pawleys Isl - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Deck collapses under family taking annual picture in Pawleys Island

A deck in Pawleys Island collapsed while a family got ready to take a photograph together (Source: Amy Lipman) A deck in Pawleys Island collapsed while a family got ready to take a photograph together (Source: Amy Lipman)

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) - The Tingle family has visited Pawleys Island every year for decades for the water activities and typical summer memories, but this year, they’ll leave with an experience they didn’t expect.

Bill Tingle said the family planned to take the annual family photograph at noon Tuesday on the ramp up to the house.

“We’ve taken it there a couple of years,” he said. “They’ve come out good.”

They never had a problem posing for the picture together before, but this year, the deck gave way.

“It was just kind of the surprise and people laying down everywhere, on top of you, and I’m on top of other people,” Tingle said.

He said about 20 people were on the deck, but only about eight fell when it collapsed.

“It was kind of one of those deals where it feels like it’s in slow motion and you’re not expecting it,” he said.

Nobody was seriously injured, but Tingle said he thinks a nail or screw went into his foot, so he had to get stitches and a tetanus shot.

He said he thinks they shouldn’t have put so much pressure in one place.

“I’m sure the wood stays moist a lot of the time and I’m sure they don’t design the decks to hold 20-plus people in one spot,” he said.

Hamp Johnson, of Pawleys Island Realty Company, which rents out the property, said this is not a problem they’ve experienced before.

He said the company inspects decks annually and also checks them on a weekly basis during the summer season when they’re out looking at properties.

Johnson said the company has been moving away from using regular nails because the salty environment breaks them down. Instead, they’re now using stainless steel screws, which he said hold up better.

He added houses have specific occupancy levels written out in the rental contract, which also apply to the outdoor decks.

Despite occupancy levels and the fact that extensive weight is usually the cause of deck collapses, Boyd Johnson and Mike Young with Georgetown County Code Enforcement said the responsibility for structural integrity lies with the property owner.

They said new codes have been adjusted to eliminate the corrosion that happens on older decks.

While new decks are required to be inspected, they said inspections of existing decks are not required. They recommend annual inspections.

The property owner said he did not have a comment.

Related story:

Deck collapse causes minor injuries in Pawleys Island

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