Issues found a complex in New London before deadly stairwell col - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Issues found a complex in New London before deadly stairwell collapse


Eyewitness news has learned there have been two other problems involving a building, someone fell through the stairways and died. One of those problems resulted in a lawsuit.

New London police said 32-year-old John Deptulski from Uncasville was on the second-floor stairs at Nutmeg Woods on Oct. 21 when they gave way, and he fell to the concrete below. Emergency crews rushed him to a local hospital, where he later died from severe head injuries.

City inspectors have been out to the complex several times since the fatal fall and on Thursday, Eyewitness News watched as recommended repairs were made.

Eyewitness News learned the fatal fall is the third in a string of problems with the stairs falling apart at Nutmeg Woods.

On Sept. 10, 2011 crews responded to a broken stair and on May 28, 2012, the rear porch from the first floor to ground level landing came unattached.

A man, who said he was injured in the 2011 incident, has a pending lawsuit against the complex. Following the 2012 incident, the fire Marshall sent an email to the building official.

"I think this is the second failure of wood stairs under the same property management company. The rear stairs throughout may need structural inspections," the fire Marshall stated in the email.

The building official for New London in 2012 has since retired. The person, who took over, told Eyewitness News that he is just learning of the prior problems and said he wasted no time looking at all the structures to make sure they are up to par. 

Eyewitness News asked if any inspections were done after the fire marshal's 2012 email. He told Eyewitness News a building permit was taken out in July 2012 to do repairs, but he could confirm what it was for.

Eyewitness News reached out to Nutmeg Woods management and they told the station they are working with the city. They wouldn't comment further.

As a result of what happened last week, the building official told Eyewitness News Nutmeg Woods was ordered to hire a structural engineer and go through every unit and report back to the city. That report is expected in the coming months.

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