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New London building department says plans in place to prevent another stairway collapse

By Greg Smith

Publication: theday.com

Published October 22. 2013 1:00PM   Updated October 22. 2013 11:43PM

New London — The death of a 32-year-old Uncasville man who fell to the ground during the collapse of a porch stairway on Monday has led to what the city’s building department says is a plan to ensure structural stability of stairways throughout the Nutmeg Woods apartment complex.

Jonathan Deptulski died after sustaining severe head trauma from the collapse, which occurred between the second and third floors of the 23 Hawthorne Drive North apartment building. The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has yet to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The collapse prompted building officials to temporarily condemn the outside stairway leading to four apartments, three of which were occupied. Tenants were relocated to a hotel by the American Red Cross, where they were likely to remain again on Tuesday night while repairs are underway, according to Nutmeg Woods property manager Karen Norton.

On Tuesday, the building department met with representatives from Nutmeg Woods and a structural engineer to come up with a plan to fix the collapsed stairs and “to ascertain if there are other significant problems that would warrant immediate attention throughout the remainder of the complex,” according to a written statement from Building Official Kirk Kripas.

A representative from the city’s building department was not available to explain whether or not any problems were found during Tuesday’s inspections.

“Nutmeg Woods staff is currently making the repairs according to the requirements of the structural engineer,” Kripas said in the statement. “City building inspectors and fire prevention personnel have been working with all involved to ensure the safety of all the residents of Nutmeg Woods.”

Norton, the property manager, said staff is fully cooperating with inspectors, who could be seen at the apartment complex throughout the day Tuesday walking porch to porch.

“This was a tragedy and we’re all affected by it,” said an emotional Norton. “Our sincerest condolences go to the family and friends of the deceased. Our main concern right now is the safety of our residents.”

Deptulski’s family could not be reached Tuesday evening.

g.smith@theday.com

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