St. Pete Beach, Florida - There were some scary moments at, Shuckers Bar & Grillin the North Bay Villagearea ofMiami Beach Thursday night.
It was during the NBA finals, just after one of the Heat players scored a huge bucket. Witnesses say a crowd of about 100 people jumped up to cheer, and the deck gave way underneath them.
They plunged into eight feet of dark water in the Biscayne Bay. Two dozen people were hurt, some of them seriously.
Friday, investigatorswere busyexamining a twisted pile of concrete, metal and wood- trying to figure out whythe waterfront deck folded.
It's not clear just how old the deck was, and when it was last inspected or renovated.
AtSea Critters Caféin Pass-A-Grille " Tom G.", as he likes to be called, tells his customers he's the head dishwasher as he greets each one of them to ask them about their meal.
Thomas Giombetti is reallythe restaurant's founder. Theyspecialize in dockside dining, and Tom says he's saddened by what happened at Shuckers.
"You have profound concern for your customers. I wouldn't want to be sitting out on that dock if it was washed out to the Gulf of Mexico."
Hesays that's why they take a proactive approach at Sea Critters.
"We have to maintain our facility to the extent that we have to monitor our docks," Tom adds. "For example, we have some wind dock damage on one of our docks, so we shut it down. We didn't want to take the chance until we get it remedied."
He says they don't just rely on sight checks either. They can't.
The wood pilings submerged in salt water are under constant attack. Marine biologists point to the marine borer. Thecreatures, also known as shipworms, bore into wood pilings and eventually destroy them. Worm-like, invertebrate creatures like clams are also known to do the same.
It's factors like those that keep Tom up-to-date on inspections.
"We have somebody inspect once a year. Our insurance requires that to make sure there is proper integrity there structurally."
10 News spoke with the owner of a local dock company. He sayshe and his colleagues are swamped right now repairing residential and commercial docks after Tropical StormAndrea.
He says inour area, docks have to be inspected after they're built by either the city or county building department, but after that, businesses are on their own to maintain them. He alsosays most pilings have a life span of 25 years.
No word onthe condition of the wood pilings at Shuckers, but the company's website says they'vebeen around more than 20 years.
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