INVESTIGATORS in California will soon carry out major tests on the balcony in Berkeley that collapsed in June, claiming six young Irish lives.
The fourth floor balcony fell 40 feet to street level during a 21st birthday party in Berkeley on June 16, claiming six student's lives and gravely injuring a further seven.
The local District Attorney’s office in Berkeley launched a criminal investigation immediately after the tragedy – and some preliminary tests were carried out which suggested dry rot was the cause of the collapse.
Now, the investigation is said to be progressing well and major tests are due to be carried out next month, RTÉ reports.
A team of five lawyers and five investigators is reported to be working on the case in Berkeley.
The tragedy sparked a major debate about local building regulations in Berkeley – and new regulations were introduced just a month after the accident.
Now, balconies must be constructed with water-resistant wood or corrosion-resistant steel and must be regularly inspected.
Niccolai Shuster, Lorcán Miller, Eoghan Culligan, Olivia Burke and Eimear Walsh, all aged 21, and 22-year-old Ashley Donohue lost their lives in the tragedy.
A further seven young students suffered life-altering injuries when they fell four stories, escaping with their lives.
Several of the students have returned home now and, while some remain in California, fundraising continues in a bid to help the families cope with their children’s new lives.
A trampoline dodgeball tournament will take place in Swords, Dublin, this Friday in aid of the Cogley family, whose daughter Clodagh was severely injured in the tragedy.
Clodagh flew back to Ireland last month to continue her treatment but the family home will need to be altered for wheelchair access as she adjusts to her new life.