Mill Basin Deck Collapse Tosses Girls Into Jamaica Bay

A 9-year-old was sent to Kings County Hospital with a bloodied head Monday afternoon, following the collapse of the family’s Mill Basin deck. The girl was in a newly-installed above-ground pool, which weighed around 13,000 pounds, when the rickety deck it was built on gave way. “There was a huge crashing sound,” her 15-year-old sister, Claudine Amsalem, told NBC New York. “And when I looked over, the pool was gone and my sisters and cousin were gone with it.” Another girl in the pool, 4-year-old Henny Needelman, didn’t know how to swim, but was saved by her plastic floaties. A third girl suffered only minor scratches and bruises.

Neighbors, meanwhile, are blaming the landlord for failing to maintain the deck:

“I’ve lived here for four years,” said a downstairs neighbor who rents the first floor apartment at 2358 National Drive. “And I never even felt safe walking on the deck. You can tell the boards are old just by looking at it. The landlord really should have maintained the deck.”

The city appears to agree, and the Department of Buildings cited violations to the landlord. But other neighbors suggest that, though the landlord failed to do his part, the family should have put more thought into where they placed the pool.

Neighbors who wish to remain anonymous told News 4 that the decks which are supported only by piles and beams were never designed to hold a lot of weight. A 15-by-4 foot pool, once filled, can weigh as much as 13-thousand pounds and much more when people actually climb into it.
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