New London — A man died Monday after sustaining severe head trauma when a wooden stairway collapsed beneath him outside the Nutmeg Woods apartment complex.
Police have not yet released the man's identity and were working late Monday to contact his family.
The collapsed stairway is located to the rear of the building No. 23, a three-story, six-unit section of the complex off Hawthorne Drive North.
The stairway, now in pieces on a ground floor concrete landing, connects a second floor deck with a landing between the second and third floors. It was about 15 feet off the ground.
Police and firefighters responded to the scene at 4:28 p.m. After being treated at the scene, the injured man was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead in the emergency room, police said.
Police had cordoned off the stairs leading to all six apartments at the building and the building official condemned the top four apartments, three of which were occupied, according to Fire Department Battalion Chief Edward Sargent.
The apartments must have a second exit to meet code. Sargent said the Red Cross was called in to aid at least three people who were displaced.
A full inspection of all of the decks and stairways leading to all of the apartments is expected today.
Nutmeg Woods tenants in the vicinity of the collapse said they had not heard of any problems in the past.
"It's one of those things you don't expect to happen," said tenant Mike Matovic.
"You don't go up a set of stairs anticipating a collapse. You kind of take for granted they'll be there for you every day," he said
Matovic said many of the tenants use the rear outdoor stairways to access their apartments because they are adjacent to the parking lot.
Nutmeg Woods is owned Ansonia Acquisitions 1, LLC and city property records show the company purchased the 382-unit series of apartment buildings for $14.6 million in 1998. The complex was built in 1969, according to city records.
A representative from Nutmeg Woods was not immediately available for comment, though they were seen speaking with police at the scene.