Balcony collapses at Cocoa Beach condo

No injuries reported at incident at Villa Verde

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - A 15,000-pound balcony collapsed from a third-floor condominium on Monday afternoon, folding at its connection to an exterior wall and dropping to a second-floor balcony below.

[PICTURES: Brevard County balcony collapse]

No one was injured in the 4:30 p.m. incident at Villa Verde, but residents had been underneath it earlier in the afternoon, Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports.

"We would have been dead," said Mike Cassidy, who was visiting a friend at the second-floor unit underneath the collapse. "Let's count our blessings."

Rick Call owns the second-floor unit that was affected by the collapse. He was out playing golf at the time; his relatives were at the condo pool.

"They heard the loud kaboom," he said. "They thought it was, maybe, thunder."

He said he drank coffee on the balcony Monday morning. He celebrated Easter with his grandchildren on the balcony Sunday.

"As bad as it is, we're extremely lucky," he said.

Homeowners association president Chris Haddad declined comment.

"Failures of this nature on competed buildings are very, very rare, possibly unheard of since it's not a corroded structure," said Byron Evetts, a structural specialist on an urban search and rescue team who came out as a service to Brevard County Fire-Rescue. "Imagine what would have happened if they were up there watching the shuttle launch," Evetts said.

The Villa Verde building, at 3500 S. Atlantic Ave., overlooks the Banana River and Atlantic Ocean just north of Patrick Air Force Base. It features eight units and a third-floor penthouse.

Villa Verde was constructed in 2006.

A far more tragic condo collapse took place in Cocoa Beach more than 30 years ago, an incident that brought about changes in design and building practices.

The five-story Harbor Cay collapsed while under construction on March 27, 1981. Five workers were killed.

An investigation indicated errors in design and construction played a role in the collapse.

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