• Deck collapses at Duluth home during Memorial Day cookout


    DULUTH, Ga. - Investigators are trying to determine what caused a deck collapse at a Duluth home over the weekend during a Memorial Day cookout.

    The deck peeled off the side of the home on Gravitt Road, falling 10 feet.

    The woman who rents the home told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh she heard popping sounds before her deck collapsed.

    On Tuesday, red, white and blue decorations could be seen on the ground along with patio furniture around the wreckage left behind.

    "You've heard about stuff like that but you never really think it's going to happen," said Clarissa Sewell, who was among the 10 people celebrating the holiday when the collapse happened.

    The group had just finished eating, "When I heard my sister was like, 'What's the popping noise?' My sister was like, 'Oh no, we left the oil on,'" Sewell said. "All of a sudden I was like 'What?' And the furniture is sliding. My brother in law got hit by the grill. It was wild."

    Sewell sent Kavanaugh a photo of firefighters treating the injured victims in the yard. She said one friend was burned by grease from the deep fryer. Another was scraped and cut by the nails.

    "When I fell I hit my head and a friend pulled me out because I had fallen back here," Sewell said.

    The fall left Sewell with a swollen wrist, a couple of nasty cuts and a few of questions.

    "The renter believes this home was built in 1994. There have been a lot of changes since then when it comes to building decks and what passes for code since '94. So a contractor will look at this now to see if it was built appropriately for the time," Sewell told Kavanaugh.

    Sewell doesn't know exactly who, if anyone, is liable over the incident.

    She rented the home from a private owner. But, Sewell said he lost it to foreclosure and it's now owned by an investment company.

    Sewell said she has a big mess to repair but she's glad she and her guests are well on their way to recovery.

    "For an unlucky event, we were all pretty lucky," Sewell said.

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