"It looked like a battlefield," shouted
the headline of the Atlanta Journal and
Constitution for April 9, 1995. There
was no field of combat involved, however.
The scene of this eye-catching
story was the backyard of a prominent
Atlanta citizen in a well-to-do neighborhood:
His deck had collapsed during
a party, with 63 people on top.
Sixty-three people may seem like a
lot, but some easy calculations show
that the load on the deck was no more
than the building codes say a deck
should safely support. The collapsed
structure was 25 feet long and extended
12 feet out from the house: 300
square feet of deck.
The codes typically require that
decks be able to support the