Summer is the time for outdoor parties — and sadly, also the time for continuing failures of the nation's aging stock of outdoor attached decks.

Chicago TV station WGN reports on a case from July 28 ("Deck collapse in Tinley Park sends 14 to hospital"). A crowd of 35 people were on the deck when it suddenly broke loose from the house and fell to the ground, the station reports. Photos and video indicate the classic pattern: a connection failure at the ledger board where the deck structure attaches to the house wall.

In the Canadian town of Wentworth, Quebec, twenty people were hurt when a deck collapsed at a baptism ceremony, reported CTV Montreal ("20 injured, one seriously, in Laurentians balcony collapse"). "Building board the Regie du batiment is now investigating to see whether or not the balcony conformed to building standards and whether it was over capacity at the time of the collapse," the station reports.

There was no heavy load or big party involved, however, in the July 29 deck collapse in Atlas, Pennsylvania, according to the Shamokin (Pennsylvania) News Item ("Back deck collapses under Atlas woman," by Eric Scicchitano). "Sharon Lee Noble, 62, of 444 E. Columbia Ave., suffered some scrapes and bruises, and admittedly a bit of embarrassment after the wooden deck faltered about 4:25 p.m. She was alone and tidying up when it fell," the paper reports. A failure at the deck ledger is evident in the photos from this example as well.