College Updates

Balcony Collapse Incident

Friday, October 7, 2016
8:45 p.m.
 
Trinity College remains committed to the safety of all members of our community, and the College is working diligently to inspect College-owned residential properties and remedy issues that come to our attention. As of today, safety inspections at all Trinity-owned residential properties have been completed, and we expect to receive a report within one week. Trinity will share the information with the residents in each property and work to remedy any identified issues as promptly as possible. In some cases, repairs have already occurred.
 
With the completion of the safety inspections, Trinity is now turning its full attention to structural inspections. This is a more in-depth and intensive inspection that examines the structural integrity of a building. These inspections will occur at all Trinity-owned residential properties, and we will provide an update when we have more information about when the inspections will be completed.  As with the safety inspections, the inspectors will provide a comprehensive report of any items that require remediation, and we will work quickly to remedy them.​

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Thursday, September 29, 2016
2:00 p.m.

Today, Trinity College released the independent site investigation report of the balcony collapse at 1713-1715 Broad Street on September 10, 2016. The report, conducted by Cirrus Structural Engineering, found the two elevated decks to be structurally deficient relative to “code requirements, engineering principles and general best practice.” The report further concluded that “the failure of the rear elevated decks at 1713-1715 Broad Street was primarily caused by construction flaws...” ​

Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney said, “I express my sincere apologies that our students had to experience such a traumatic event and am grateful that all who were injured are back on campus. These students, their families, and all members of our community have my commitment to have all of Trinity’s off-campus buildings regularly inspected so that something like this does not occur again.” 

Based on Trinity College’s and the City of Hartford’s records and the work of Cirrus Structural Engineering, the key findings are:

  • Construction defects of the rear elevated decks included the lack of vertical load support, the use of improper fasteners, and failure to use protective flashing.
  • The rear decks at 1713-1715 Broad Street were reconstructed sometime between 1990 and 2003, although exact dates could not be determined; there is no record of the company responsible for the reconstruction. 
  • The failure to reconstruct the decks in accordance with sound engineering principles and established “best practice” resulted in corrosion of the deck structure – the wooden beams, ledgers, and nails, which led to the gradual weakening of the deck structure and culminating with the decks being unable to support the weight placed upon them at the time of the accident, per Cirrus Engineering.
Trinity College owns 35 off-campus properties. Sixteen of these properties are residential and currently house Trinity graduate students, faculty, or staff, as well as non-Trinity renters. The remaining buildings are used as offices and academic and social spaces, or are unoccupied. Each property, beginning with those where individuals reside, has been or will be inspected by experts who will examine them for structural integrity, as well as the life safety, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems.

“For reasons unclear to us, no inspection was done at the time the 1713-1715 Broad Street building was purchased by the College in 2011,” said Vice President of Finance and Operations Dan Hitchell, who joined the College in July 2016 and oversees facilities. “We are now inspecting all off-campus properties and will enact new procedures to ensure that all buildings that the College owns are safe.” 

Thirty-two students experienced a range of injuries as a result of the deck collapse; all have returned to campus and classes. Five students who lived in the 1713-1715 Broad Street property have been relocated to on-campus housing. ​

  
Thursday, September 29, 2016
11:10 a.m.

The report from the independent structural engineering firm will be available on this site at 2:00 p.m. EDT.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016
12:00 p.m.

Tomorrow, September 29, the College will be releasing an independent report by a structural engineering firm about the cause of the September 10 deck collapse. The report will be posted to this website as soon as it is available.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016
8:00 p.m.

We are grateful nearly all of our students injured on September 10 have returned to campus. Again, we thank the first responders and all who helped those in need. This includes the Counseling Center staff who have provided a great service to any who wished to take advantage of their support and guidance.
 
The independent investigation of what occurred and why is under way and we’ll share findings once completed. Be assured that since the accident, all College-owned properties in which members of our extended community live have been or are being inspected to ensure the safety of those occupying these residences.
 
We’ll continue to provide regular updates as we have more information to share.​


Sunday, September 18, 2016
6:50 p.m.

In the one week since the balcony collapse occurred at 1713-1715 Broad Street, we recognize how difficult this ordeal has been for the entire Trinity College community. All members of our community -- students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and friends -- have come together to support one another as all those affected by the accident begin to heal physically and emotionally. 

The safety of our community is paramount, and we continue to work with engineers and inspectors to evaluate the safety of all College-owned properties in which our community members are living.


Saturday, September 17, 2016
6:05 p.m.

Trinity College is still investigating the root cause of the balcony collapse at 1713-1715 Broad Street, Hartford. We continue to work closely with structural engineers, inspectors, and municipal authorities.

Our highest priority is still to care for and support all students who were involved in the collapse, as well as the students’ families. Administrators and support staff are working continuously with students and families on follow-up medical care, support for academics, housing, transportation, and counseling resources.


Friday, September 16, 2016
5:00 p.m.

Investigation by Trinity and municipal authorities regarding the cause of the September 10 balcony collapse continues. Reports from engineers and inspectors are anticipated to be received within the next two to three weeks. 

As Trinity staff continue to work with affected students, we now know that a total of 32 students have reported physical injuries. Twenty-eight of those students were transported to local hospitals Saturday night and Sunday morning. A few students who were initially offered transportation to the hospital for further medical evaluation declined to go. However, in the days since the accident, additional students have sought evaluation and treatment for physical injuries. One student remains in the hospital for ongoing treatment. 

We encourage all of our community members who were affected by this incident and need help to please contact any of the support resources listed on this page.​


Thursday, September 15, 2016
4:55 p.m.

Trinity College is continuing to work with the City of Hartford as well as structural engineers and home inspectors to evaluate the safety of all College-owned properties in which our community members are living. We are grateful to the City of Hartford for the swift, competent, and caring manner of responders and officials throughout this ordeal. 

Trinity’s administrators and staff remain in continuous contact with affected students and their families and are assisting with their immediate and ongoing needs resulting from the incident.  ​


Wednesday, September 14, 2016
4:45 p.m.

Trinity College is investigating the cause of the accident, and we are working with structural engineers and home inspectors who are on campus over the next few days to evaluate the safety of all College-owned properties in which our community members are living. The property manager, David Lemkuil of SML Real Estate, Inc., is working with the College to assess the situation. Given the level of due diligence necessary to conduct a thorough review, we expect to receive additional information within the next two to three weeks. 

Our priority continues to be the needs of our students and our faculty will continue to be as supportive as possible in making accommodations for students with issues directly impacting their academic work including physical injuries, concussions, and emotional needs.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016
5:30 p.m.

Trinity College’s highest priority is to continue to care for and support all students who were involved in Saturday night’s incident, as well as the students’ families. Administrators and support staff are working continuously with students and families on follow-up medical care, support for academics, housing, transportation, and counseling resources. 

As of today, one student remains in the hospital and the College is in close contact with the student and the family.

The root cause of the accident has yet to be determined, and the police are investigating. However, as the owner of the property, Trinity is also investigating the cause of the accident.  We have engaged structural engineers and inspectors to assist with this investigation. We have not yet released the name of the property manager because our efforts are focused on gathering as much information as possible about the structural condition of the house’s balconies and records of past maintenance. We want to be clear that the students who hosted the social gathering at the house followed procedures to register and host a social event per the policies outlined in the Student Handbook. 

The amount of support and care exhibited by the Trinity community over the past several days has been extraordinary, and we ask that everyone continue to consider the impact this incident has on large number of our students, friends, and community members. Many staff members are focused on care and support, as well as investigating the incident, and we will update this page daily with new information. 

 
​Monday, September 12, 2016
3:30 p.m.

Trinity College is continuing to care for students who were affected by the balcony collapse that occurred on Saturday, September 10, 2016, especially those students who were injured, students present at the social gathering during the accident, residents of the house where the incident occurred, friends and families, and the staff and other responders at the scene. 

Two students who were injured in the accident remain in the hospital with moderate injuries and one is expected to be released within 24 hours. The Dean of Students is in contact with the students and their families for ongoing support.

Trinity is in the process of investigating the incident and we will be cooperating with any authorities representing the City of Hartford in their review of this incident. The property is owned by the College and is managed by an outside property manager. Accommodations have been made for the five student residents of the house. The house cannot be occupied, and the students have been relocated to other campus housing. 

The Trinity community is continuing to process and recover from the incident, and on Sunday at 4:00 p.m., students, support staff, and faculty gathered in the Trinity College Chapel to reflect and offer care and support to one another. 

Trinity Counseling Center staff and Chaplains remain available to students, and urgent requests for assistance should be directed to Campus Safety at (860) 297-2222.​


​Sunday, September 11, 2016
9:25 a.m.

A balcony collapse occurred at approximately 11 p.m. Saturday night (September 10, 2016) at a house at 1715 Broad Street, Hartford, where a social gathering of Trinity students was taking place. 28 students ​were transported to area hospitals and a few remain for ongoing treatment. College staff went to the hospitals to be with the students and assist with getting in touch with the students’ families and with providing transportation back to campus. At this time, the majority of the students have been treated and discharged and the College will remain in direct contact with those still receiving treatment. Staff have attempted to reach family members for all students who went to the hospital. In the few cases where we were unable to reach a family member directly, a message was left. Most students involved have been in contact with their families but parents who have concerns are asked to please reach out to their students or to call Campus Safety.
 
The Trinity College Health Center will be reaching out to those students evaluated to determine and assist with any follow-up. The Dean of Students Office will also continue to work with students and parents in the days ahead.
 
While this event is upsetting, we are grateful that none of the injuries are life-threatening.
 
Trinity Counseling Center staff and Chaplains are available to students and families and can be reached through calling Campus Safety.
 
Trinity College Emergency Management Team
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Report by Cirrus Structural Engineering



​​Support and Resources for Students


Dean of Students Office
(860) 297-2156

Trinity College Counseling Center
(860) 297-2415​

Trinity College Health Center
(860) 297-2018

Chaplain's Office
(860) 297-2012

Housing and Residential Life
(860) 297-2305

Accommodation​ Services
(860) 297-4025

Campus Safety
(860) 297-2222