3 People Injured After Balcony Collapse In Denton

By Matt Goodman, CBSDFW.COM
 3 People Injured After Balcony Collapse In Denton

Three men were injured when this balcony collapsed at The Grove apartments in Denton on September 3, 2011. (Credit: Trevor Armel)

DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the three men standing on a balcony that collapsed at The Grove Apartments in the 700 block of Fort Worth Drive is in serious condition Saturday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Tony Garcia, Grant Draper and Garrett Draper  were airlifted to Harris Methodist Hospital early Saturday morning after falling from the third floor apartment into the parking lot below. They had stepped out onto the slim balcony to smoke a cigarette at about 3 a.m. when it collapsed, a police spokesman said.

Garcia and Grant Draper are in fair condition while Garrett Draper was upgraded to serious condition Saturday night, Harris Methodist spokeswoman Reace Smith said. Smith did not know how old the men were and did not have any further information about their injuries.

The North Texas Daily reported Saturday afternoon that all three of the men were then stable at Harris Methodist with non-life threatening injuries.

“We have been trying to contact the management, but they’re not telling us anything that happened last night and they’re not letting anyone talk about it,” said Rebecca Barber, 19, a resident of the complex.

The Grove opened in August and is targeted toward college students. Its website touts “fully loaded college living” and features video testimonials from college-aged residents, one of whom says she can “roll out of bed and go straight to class in 10 minutes.”

A manager said the balcony areas of the units are only there for decoration.

 3 People Injured After Balcony Collapse In Denton

A balcony at an apartment facing Fort Worth Drive at The Grove in Denton. (Credit: Trevor Armel)

“It’s important to note that the balcony involved in this morning’s incident was a non-weight bearing structure,” said Christine Vogiatzis, general manager at The Grove. “It was a decorative piece that was originally installed to add to the building’s visual aesthetics.”

Vogiatzis declined to comment about whether this information was included in the lease or if residents are explicitly informed not to stand on the balconies.

A spokesman for the Grove’s North Carolina-based parent company Campus Crest wrote in an email that the Juliet balcony in question was “not designed to support the weight of three full grown adults.”

“It’s six inches deep and serves as a barrier so residents can open their door to get fresh air,” wrote spokesman Jason Chudoba. “The event that took place this morning was an unfortunate accident and we’re glad the individuals’ injuries are non-life-threatening.”

The unit in question does have a door installed in front of the balcony area.

“I did talk to somebody who was there when they fell and they said somebody was trapped under the bar from the railing,” Barber said. “The reason I don’t buy the decorative thing is that there’s a door that leads out onto the balcony. Those are actually working doors.”

Barber said the apartments facing Fort Worth Drive are the only units with the balconies. Her apartment does not have a balcony, she added.

Construction on The Grove started early this year, and Barber said the first day residents could move in was August 20, six days before classes began. Barber said “none of the amenities were ready” when she moved in.

“When I moved in, there was no hot water … my front door wasn’t aligned with the door frame, you could see sunlight coming in,” she said. “There are dings and dints and scratches, my dish washer wasn’t installed properly, my ice maker wasn’t set up.”

Vogiatzis would not comment past her statement about the balcony being purely aesthetic.

The Grove’s Facebook page was also taken down Saturday afternoon. Chudoba did not address whether that was related to the balcony collapse.

grove1 3 People Injured After Balcony Collapse In Denton

The Grove Denton's Facebook page was deleted the day after a balcony collapsed on its property, injuring three. Click to enlarge. (Credit: Samra Bufkins, Mike Mezeul II)

“I talked to residents who had no idea what happened,” Barber said. “They didn’t believe me that it actually had happened, because it’s being kept so down-low.”

grove2 3 People Injured After Balcony Collapse In Denton

The Grove Denton's Facebook page was deleted the day after a balcony collapsed on its property, injuring three. Click to enlarge. (Credit: Samra Bufkins, Mike Mezeul II)

According to the Campus Crest website, the Grove has 584 beds and is one of 10 properties the company owns in Texas. A city of Denton spokesman was not immediately available Saturday for comment.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the injured individuals and their families. The safety and well being of our residents and guests that visit our properties is our top priority and concern,” Chudoba wrote in the email. “We wish the injured individuals a quick recovery.”


One Comment

  1. Rita B says:

    Why would they have doors opening to a “balcony” that was not designed to support the weight of a human being? And their website says it is a non-smoking complex http://www.gogrove.com/interior.cfm?city=denton&page=faq So why would they make balconies that don’t work?

    1. goodyt says:

      I would suggest to you that 1) a 6″ balcony is not made to stand on, and 2) it would not be very energy efficient if the doors did not open for air circulation.

      I would also bet, recalling my own college days, that there was some alcohol involved at 3 a.m.

      1. Rita B says:

        So you’re blaming the victims because alcohol might have been involved? And who says in Texas you need doors to open for energy efficiency? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard yet.

  2. Rebecca GetEqual Barber says:

    I stand by my statements I made. This building was poorly built, and it is not the fault of these young men.

  3. Elinor says:

    This is a horrific incident. If a door opens, a human’s experience tells him that he can walk through it safely. The designer of the building as well as the owner are at fault. If the owner wanted the railing for appearance, he should have made sure the doors did not open. I would say the owner is completely liable. I hope the injured people pull through.

  4. CINN40 says:


  5. Lt. Columbo says:

    Boys will be boys, living on the edge, testing the limits…..

    1. Stacy Mark Phillips says:

      living on the edge? I’m sorry PLEASE explain to us how walking on ur balcony to smoke a cigarette is living on the edge. If those balconys are not designed for weight then doors that open should NEVER have been installed…My apartments have the same kinda balcony but the builder had common sense and instead of using doors which make ppl think they can walk out on they used large windows

    2. Patrick says:

      You’re an idiot. If your idea of living on the edge is standing on a balcony then you might want to reevaluate what it means to live.

  6. Lt. Columbo says:

    Smoking is bad for their health, the warning is written right on the pack.

  7. Rick says:

    The workers who installed the balconies did not use long-enough lag bolts or did not secure them to studs in the wall.

  8. NiteNurse says:

    I have seen those types of balconies at hotels and apartments before. They look as those they are designed to JUST to allow you to open the doors and get fresh air. The railing is just so you are aware where the edge is not to actually lean on. BUT keeping that in mind, when you design something like that you gotta remember the idiot factor because idiots will test anything designed to keep you in to it’s fullest. I’m sure that night 3 adults men (around 500 pounds) were leaning on that railing at once.

  9. Bob says:

    You can look at this two ways. The smokers falt or the owners falt. Smokers because they are young, need a smoke, lazy to walk down some stairs, drunk, and stupid enough to try smoking on a balcony thats 6s inch deep. The owners because of poor construction and cheep decoration. the owner possibly did not consider young and dumb drunk smokers who would attempt to use this balcony. In my conclusion the owner is at falt because of liability purposes. You have to think beyond the dollor. If you build for the young expect the inventable.

    1. NiteNurse says:

      Yeah I suppose but you know this country is going under because of all the lawsuits from stupid people and you know there will be a lawsuit because of it.

  10. Jo Dent says:

    Its 6 inches deep, you would think anyone with a single brain cell would know its purely for decoration! Wow.


  11. Name says:

    Who stands on a 6 inch balcony? Sure, say The Grove isn’t a good apartment complex, but don’t blame 3 students standing on a 6 inch balcony on the complex. They’re just dumb, or were drunk.

  12. Grovesuckss says:

    I worked at the Grove Denton for about a month and they did alot of shade things. They fired several people without paying them and authorities had to be called inorder for the people to finally recieve payment. They also would make us lie to people just so they would sign a lease, and not little lies for marketing purposes, strait up lies. They would do anything to trap people into signing a lease. They built all the apartments in about 2 1/2 months…which is why they are unsafe. They would walk in the office every morning and say “who are we going to fire today.” Working there was HELL. The people running they place were highley uneducated and had zero communication skills.

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