Safety

Portion of cliff and patio collapse in Isla Vista

Sunday night collapse leads to evacuation

Tenants claim negligence in balcony...

ISLA VISTA, Calif. - Update - LATEST UPDATE

Two displaced residents of the property on 6653 Del Playa Drive told KEYT that the property owner should have done more to prevent the balcony collapse.

Kelsey Remige, a third-year student at UCSB said she noticed a big crack starting to form on patio tiles along the line of the cliff.

Remige said, James Gelb of Del Playa Rentals, had the tiles changed a few days ago, but nothing was done to stabilize the patio.

"I feel like this issue was known, and I feel like he could have done something about it earlier and he chose not too. He could have been in the process of getting it fixed, but obviously it wasn't soon enough," Remige said.

Dori Lucero, a tenant and UCSB student who is also displaced said Gelb was negligent and put people in danger.

"There's been a crack there in the patio since we moved in. Just a few days ago they put new tile in to fill it in. The crack was there for a reason, putting new tile in doesn't solve the problem obviously," Lucero said. "A formal apology would be nice. It feels like he didn't put in the necessary effort to keep his tenants safe."

KEYT reached Gelb by phone on Monday afternoon. He didn't want to comment about the balcony collapse on camera. However, he disputes the tenants claims.

Gelb said cracked tiles were fixed over the weekend, but they were minor. Gelb said he believes wave and surf action, plus the drought are to blame, called it "a freak thing of nature".

Gelb claimed he has permits to cut back the building by 45 feet and was anticipating construction in June.

An engineer is scheduled to assess the site again on Monday afternoon.

UCSB has offered the more than two dozen displaced students housing at the Tropicana Gardens.

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[12 p.m. PST - UPDATE] Santa Barbara County building inspectors surveyed properties on Del Playa Drive Monday morning.

This comes after a balcony and cliff collapsed Sunday night. 

Students who lived in 6653 Del Playa Drive were asked to evacuate last night. Tenants who live in the units facing the ocean were banned from entering their homes to retrieve their items. There is no timeline as to when they would be able to enter the property.
 

The American Red Cross offered the displaced students shelter at Dos Pueblos High School. Not all of the students accepted the offer.

An employee from Wolfe and Associates told our reporter Vicky Nguyen that the 6663 Del Playa Drive was also seen by building inspectors following the collapse. That property was deemed safe for residents to continue to live in.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann also shared some information with our reporter. The county is requesting chain link fencing to be brought in to reinforce balconies in case more erosion occurs.

Our call to Del Playa Rental, the landlord company that rents out 6653 Del Playa Drive, was not returned.

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ORIGINAL STORY

Students ran out of their apartment building overlooking the ocean in Isla Vista on Sunday night after their patio gave way.

Santa Barbara County firefighters said a portion of the cliff and patio collapsed just after 5 p.m.

No one was hurt.

Firefighters evacuated about 50 people.  Most of them are UCSB students who live in rooms facing the ocean.

They will be housed by UCSB and the American Red Cross overnight.

Building inspectors will wait until daylight to figure out if the apartment building on the bluff at 6653 Del Playa Drive is safe.

Students said they noticed problems with the deck during winter break.

This is a developing story.

 


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