Year in Review: Dozens injured in deck collapse that turns into court case

Several people were seriously injured in an incident in Aldergrove

It was a disaster that unfolded in seconds, but was years in the making.

On April 19th, in the midst of a wedding celebration at a home in Aldergrove, a large deck collapsed, throwing dozens of people to the ground.

Almost 40 victims, ranging in age from 15 to 83, were hurt in the collapse in the 5800 block of 268th Street.

One was airlifted to hospital, two to three were in critical condition, and about 12 to 15 were initially classified as being in serious condition, while the rest received relatively minor injuries, police said in the immediate aftermath.

Those who saw the aftermath described it as “15 minutes of insanity.

Neighbour Charles Ford heard a large boom.

“Though my back was to the house, when I turned around I could see people running,” Ford said. “They were running from the front of the house to the back.”

The Garcha family had rented the home for the gathering as a middle place for relatives coming from the western Lower Mainland as well as Penticton.

Although no one died, in the days after the collapse two family members were in the intensive care unit at Royal Columbian Hospital, and another four were in that hospital with less serious injuries, along with at least five others in Surrey Memorial under medical supervision.

Starting in September, lawsuits began flying over the deck. Most were aimed at Amaroo Estate, the building’s owner, as well as Langley Township.

Jatinder Kaur Grewal was one of the party-goers who has filed a lawsuit, listing an extensive list of injuries including a broken femur, multiple foot fractures, a broken tooth that required extraction, injuries to her right knee, scarring and soft tissue injuries, and PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue, among others.

None of the many lawsuit allegations have been tested in court.

The Township of Langley, included in a number of the more than 20 lawsuits filed to date, issued a statement in the fall claiming it was not responsible, because the deck was built illegally.

The deck which collapsed was built sometime after the house’s construction in the 1990s, according to the Township’s response to the lawsuits.

It’s unknown which owner built the new deck. Some legal documents name Amaroo Estate as the owners, but a response by Amaroo says the company was renting it from a different owner.

“The illegal deck was constructed without any building permit from the Township,” said the Township’s legal response.

“Construction of the deck was thus carried out surreptitiously and entirely unbeknownst to the Township and, as a result, its construction was never subject to the Township’s inspection,” it says.

The deck was allegedly held up by two pillars, and was only connected to the house’s exterior fascia boards with screws and nails, and didn’t extend into or under the house for stability.

In addition, the Township’s documents say the business of renting out the home was itself illegal and unlicensed.

Meanwhile, Amaroo has filed documents with the court sayng the Township was negligent for failing to properly inspect the deck and the home.

As 2019 ended, the claims had not gone to court.

LangleylawsuitYear in Review

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Otter Co-op expands to North Vancouver brewery and Abbotsford pub

Aldergrove-borne enterprise delves into hospitality realm with three new Angry Otter liquor stores

LETTER: More traffic enforcement needed in Fort Langley, one resident pleads

Irresponsible drivers using the village and surrounding area as circuit – says Fort advocate

Group of Langley co-workers wins $145K with Lotto Max

Everyone was on days off when they heard the news they’d won the lottery

T-Rex earns big bids at Langley dino auction

More than 500 dino-themed items sold to buyers from across North America

Langley fires prompt warning about balcony and deck fires

Langley Township has tips to stay safer in outdoor spaces that can be the scene of fires

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Most Read