A landlord could face up to $18,000 in fines stemming from a deck collapse last week that left two people injured during a party at an East Setauket house, Brookhaven Town officials said Tuesday.
About 50 people fell 10 feet when the deck collapsed late Friday during a party attended by an estimated 400 people, many of them college students, officials said during a news conference at Brookhaven Town Hall.
While the deck did not violate town building codes, an investigation after the collapse found the house did not have required smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, town officials said. The two-story Colonial, occupied by eight tenants, also had illegal interior door locks, a broken basement window and a den that was illegally converted to a bedroom, officials said.
The landlord, identified by town officials as Ayeinli Zeyit, is due to appear on Oct. 27 in Sixth District Court in Patchogue to face the building code violations.
Attempts to reach Zeyit or his lawyer Tuesday were unsuccessful. Zeyit pleaded guilty in May to code violations at the house and paid an undisclosed fine, Brookhaven officials said. At the time, he said he planned to move into the house and no longer rent rooms there, officials said.
Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the town would take Zeyit to trial unless he pleads guilty to all charges.
“We are not settling this case,” Romaine said.
Bruce Sander, of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, which has fought illegal rentals in the area, applauded the charges.
“It should be prosecuted to the fullest extent to send a message to all landlords that this is unacceptable,” Sander said.
Brookhaven officials said the deck had been structurally sound, but too many people were on the structure when it buckled about 11 p.m. Friday.
Two injured students taken to local hospitals had been “evaluated and released,” said Timothy R. Ecklund, Stony Brook University assistant vice president for student affairs.
Ecklund acknowledged that many of the people who had attended the party at the off-campus home probably were Stony Brook students, though he said an accurate count was impossible. Stony Brook students began arriving last week in advance of the start of the fall semester.
He said the college was “gathering information” and that “appropriate action” would be taken against Stony Brook students found to have played a role in the incident.
A Suffolk County police spokeswoman said three tenants were cited for violating the social host law, which makes party hosts responsible when minors attend gatherings involving alcohol. The tenants’ identities were not available, she said.