Stairway collapses at Orlando apartment complex

Firefighters help 2 families safely get out of their homes

By Lisa Bell - Anchor

ORLANDO, Fla. - Friday the 13th turned into a frightening scene for residents at an Orlando apartment complex when a stairway leading to two units collapsed.

It happened around 6:45 Friday night at the Fountain Apartments at Lake Orlando on Rosamond Drive.

City officials said a maintenance worker at the complex was trying to move a washer and dryer up a flight of stairs when it came crashing to the ground.

The employee was reportedly OK, but was checked out by doctors as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Orlando firefighters had to help two families safely get out of their homes, as investigators tried to figure out how it happened.

"I've never seen anything quite like that," said Mike Rhodes, a division manager with Orlando Code Enforcement.

Rhodes took several pictures of the damage and says it appears the bolts holding up the riser just pulled out of the wall for no apparent reason.

"It looked fine. I didn't see any evidence of wood rot or water damage or anything like that, that I would expect to see," said Rhodes. "It looks like it just popped out."

Rhodes said investigators will now be checking to see just how much weight was on the staircase at the time and if any other stairs at the complex are at risk for collapse.

Rhodes said there is now no way to access the two upstairs apartments, but management at the complex helped the residents who live there find a new place to stay.

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