North Bay Village Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps told NBC 6 Monday that she is asking for more thorough inspections of decks following last Thursday's collapse at Shuckers Bar & Grill.
The city's chief building official, Raul Rodriguez, said that a day after the waterfront deck collapsed, sending about 100 people into the waters of Biscayne Bay, he noticed signs of aging.
"We saw the debris in there, we saw some exposed corroded steel in there," Rodriguez said.
Ironically, six months before the incident, a recertification report performed by an engineer contracted by the restaurant concluded Shuckers was "structurally and electrically safe." Rodriguez said "the report does not show any deficiencies in any portions of the structure."
Though the report has pictures of the deck, the engineer who performed it told NBC 6 that he wasn't paid to inspect the marine structure, only the building and hotel. But Rodriguez told reporters Monday he "assumed" it was included because of the way the ordinance is drafted.
"It says that any building and or structure that will have any type of occupancy where 10 or more people will be standing on, it has to be part of the report," Rodriguez said.
NBC 6 has not been able to reach the owners of Shuckers for comment regarding the inspection, but public records show that in 2009 they pulled permits to replace the existing dock. The work was never performed.
That was about the same time the owners of another popular waterfront restaurant, Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill, got a quote to redo their wood deck.
"We decided it was too expensive," said the owner's son, Lazaro Sanchez, but then last year they decided to do it after inspectors recommended it. "We feel it's a lot safer not just for the customers but for the actual employees," Sanchez said about the concrete deck they now have.
Investigators are still trying to determine what brought the deck at Shuckers down and have shut down the restaurant, deeming it an unsafe structure until it can be thoroughly inspected.
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