Residents told to stay off balcony following Local 10 investigation
Man remains at hospital month after railing gave way at North Bay Village apartment complex
NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Fla. – Local 10 Investigates has uncovered serious problems at a North Bay Village apartment complex that management seemed to have ignored until now.
A 36-year-old airplane pilot's life may never be the same after the railing, that was supposed to keep him safe, suddenly gave way.
Jimmy O'Reilly, 36, can't move his left leg.
"The vertebrate virtually exploded upon impact," said Tom Scolaro, O'Reilly's attorney. "They inserted rods and screws to try to stabilize his back."
No one knows if O'Reilly's brain injury is permanent. Almost a month after the accident, Scolaro said O'Reilly remains at Jackson Memorial.
"He has no recollection of the event," said Scolaro.
But those who were on the balcony with O'Reilly know exactly what happened. Vinny Bona-Gura was there and watched his friend fall to the ground after the loose railing collapsed.
Bona-Gura said several balconies at the Bays End Apartments have the same problem.
"I have complained about it and I have had no response what's so ever," said Bona-Gura. "What am I supposed to do?"
On the third floor, the balcony above Emre Yesil is coming down on top of him.
"I have a lot of cracks and as you can see it is not safe," said Yesil, referring to his railling.
Months before the accident, tenants claim they had complained to the manager over and over.
"I mentioned it to the managers and they didn't do anything," said Yesil.
"My client is a victim of horrible, horrible neglect," said Scolaro.
To this day, the railing has not been replaced. There is no barrier. Not only is it dangerous, but it's against code.
"Not only are we going to condemn that balcony, but we are going to condemn all of them because we got no answers from the building people," said Mike Arronte, a building department inspector.
Local 10 confronted Building Manager Griselda Acosta, who lives in the building.
"I wanted to ask you about the balconies," Local 10's Jeff Weinsier said to Acosta.
"They are fine," said Acosta.
"The balconies are fine?" asked Weinsier.
"Go see the inspector. He came to see them," said Acosta.
"You had three people fall of the balcony and it's closed?" Weinsier asked.
"I have nothing to say," Acosta said.
"Not only that, it's all corroding," said Weinsier.
"I have nothing to say," said Acosta.
Days after Local 10 started asking questions, the village posted a notice ordering tenants to stay off the balconies.
Local 10 has learned the building is owned by Rudoph Faber, who lives in Germany.
The city has ordered the apartment manager to bring in an engineer.
"We will require them all to be inspected and certified," said North Bay Village Manager Frank Rollason.
The building's owner has been cited in the past for doing structural work without permits. North Bay Village has given the manager 120 days to get all the work done and immediately re-install the railing that came down in O'Reilly's accident.
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