Porch collapses at Amherst rental home, no one injured

Staff Writer
Monday, November 22, 2021

AMHERST — A first-floor porch at the rear of a rental home collapsed under the weight of people gathered on it early Saturday morning. No one was injured, emergency personnel said.

Firefighter/paramedics and police officers responded to 30 South Whitney St. at 12:42 a.m. after getting a 911 call about the porch falling.

Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson said Monday that 12 to 15 people were on the porch, and some were jumping, at the time of the incident.

“The porch is not designed for that much weight,” Nelson said.

Because a party was taking place, Nelson said firefighter/paramedics did a search to make sure no one was trapped below the porch.

The property is managed by Berkshire Terrace Partners, LLC of Amherst.

In September 2018, a porch collapsed at a Fearing Street home under similar circumstances. Though no one was injured that time, the residents were displaced because the collapsed porch pulled down the fire escape.

Building Commissioner Rob Morra wrote in an email that because the South Whitney Street property is a single-family dwelling, it doesn’t get a periodic safety inspection. Residential safety inspections are for buildings with three or more dwelling units.

The town does require all rental properties to receive permits following completion of a self-certification checklist for landlords.

Nelson said his department tries to take a proactive approach at homes with porches, advising property owners to have their tenants limit the number of people on them at any given time.

“We try to get the word out to landlords: don’t crowd porches,” Nelson said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.