The beginning of summer brings outdoor parties, cookouts — and deck collapses. The past week's news included a rash of deck failures around the nation as families and friends gathered for outdoor events.

Three people were hurt when a deck fell ten feet during a Memorial Day get-together at a house in Duluth, Georgia, reports local station WSBTV ("Deck collapses at Duluth home during Memorial Day cookout"). "All of a sudden I was like 'What?' And the furniture is sliding," Clarissa Sewell told a reporter. "My brother in law got hit by the grill. It was wild."

FOX 5 Atlanta also covered the Duluth failure ("3 injured in deck collapse at Duluth home," by Denise Dillon). Alpharetta home inspector C. C. Motes, of Allview Home Inspections, pointed out that most deck failures occur because of weak connections to the house, observing: "If the rim joist is not attached to the house properly then the band board for the deck is not going to do any good."

In another incident, six people were hurt in the Birmingham, Alabama, neighborhood of Roebuck during a church luncheon, station WBRC Fox 6 reported ("At least 6 injured in east Birmingham deck collapse"). A photo of that scene from the station's website also shows a detached band joist at the house wall.

In the Long Island, New York, community of Long Beach, five people cooking out on a balcony attached to a brick building were hurt when the balcony failed, NBC 4 New York reported ("5 Hurt When Balcony Collapses on Long Island"). The station repored, "Fire Commissioner Scott Kemins attributed the collapse to a 'mixture of structural failure as well as the live load on the balcony -- five people, a barbecue, it was probably too much for the elderly balcony.'"

Long Beach Patch.com also has a report: ("Five People Hospitalized After Deck Collapses in Long Beach," by Joseph Kellard). Kernins, who is also the town's building commissioner, told the Patch, "Obviously we'll have to get an engineer and contractors there in the morning."

And in Wildwood, Missouri, a deck collapse at a condominium has triggered an investigation by building inspectors, who plan to inspect all 60 decks at the complex, reported station KSDK Channel 5 ("Deck collapse at Sandal Wood Creek prompts county inspection," by Leisa Zigman). "On Tuesday, inspectors discovered rotting material that was supposed to be holding up the deck," the station reported. "An independent contractor tells the I-Team said many more decks are at risk of collapsing."