1 Dead, Two Injured After Building Collapse - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

1 Dead, Two Injured After Building Collapse

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Rittenhouse Square -

Two survivors are now in stable condition at area hospitals. The collapse happened early this morning in Rittenhouse Square. FOX 29's Drew Dickman has the story.

One person is dead and two others are in stable condition at area hospitals after fire escape collapsed during a birthday party at a historic Rittenhouse apartment building early Sunday morning.

L&I blocked the entrance to the alley Sunday afternoon and posted a sign citing code violations.

"I was dead asleep and I heard a huge crash," witness Berdell Buckley said.

The noise Buckley heard was a fire escape falling four stories to the ground.

Police said two women and a man in their 20s went onto the balcony to smoke a cigarette, when it came crashing down.

Buckley went into the alley and witnessed the aftermath.

"A girl was whimpering on the ground, there were other people taking debris from on top of her," he said.

Investigators said both women have broken bones in their backs.

Buckley said the 22-year-old man fell all the way down into the stairwell.

A police spokesperson said he suffered severe head and neck injuries and died at the hospital around 5:45 Sunday morning.

"I've been told they were people with a bright future in the medical profession," Buckley said.

Police, Fire and L&I were all on the scene investigating the collapse.

They said the bolts of the fire escape of the historic John C. Bell house appear to have rusted over, causing the stair case to disconnect from the building.

Buckley is an architect and said the structure that fell was badly deteriorated.

"It's clearly, totally rusted," he said.

Both Buckley and neighbor Jacalyn Pollock said the property owners maintain the building from another county.

Pollock is also an architect and had previous concerns about the fire escape.

"I would never have thought it was a good idea to walk out onto those balconies based on how the condition was and how they looked, prior to this incident," she said.

L&I has ordered the property owners to make the necessary repairs and follow code on this building. They are anticipating an engineering report on the building in the coming days. The formal investigation into what caused the collapse is still pending.

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