EAST SETAUKET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities are investigating after an elevated wooden deck collapsed behind a Long Island home, injuring two people during a college party.
Party guests were gathered at about 11 p.m. Friday under the 10-foot-high deck in East Setauket when the structure began to creak and sway, Brookhaven Town Chief Fire Marshal Christopher Mehrman tells Newsday.
As many as 50 people were reportedly on the deck when it collapsed, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.
One person was treated for a broken leg and the other sustained abrasions. Officials say a third person was treated for severe alcohol intoxication.
At least 400 people, most believed to be students, were at the house to celebrate Stony Brook University’s move-in day, officials said.
Authorities are investigating the cause and whether the house was converted into illegal apartments rented to nearby university students, which nearby residents said is a common problem in the area, Xirinachs reported.
“”Too many people in one house, it’s bad,” resident Eugene Copchuck said.
“They should have safe housing for students,” another resident said.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, landlord Zeyit Aydinli remained behind the door of his home claiming he rents to his cousin and two other Stony Brook students.
“You cannot control how many people if you have a party,” he said.
Neighbors who called the cops said they were astonished that only two people were hurt.
“It is insanity, absolutely insanity. The university needs to step up and take care of this,” one neighbor said.
Others said Stony Brook is a great neighbor, but it needs to address a lack of student housing.
“What causes this sort of thing to happen is the high cost of living here, and a chronic housing problem,” Robert Reuter said.
The university said great strides have been made — adding 3,000 dorm beds.
“All of our incoming students who want to live on campus we house on campus. We have other students who chose to live off campus. We want our students to be good neighbors wherever they’re at in safe and secure housing,” Dean of Students Timothy Ecklund said.
There are 10,000 dorm spaces for the 25,000 grad and undergrad students on campus.
Alan Steinberg of the Stony Brook Homeowners Association wants a stop to so-called nightmare rentals, and more dorms built.
“They should not be able to take in more students than they have housing for,” he said.
Brookhaven Town has scheduled a Tuesday media briefing to address zoning and safety issues among unscrupulous landlords, and a crackdown on off-campus traffic, parking, noise, and trash.
Stony Brook is holding workshops and creating guides for living responsibly off campus.
No citations had been issued as of Saturday.
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