An aerial view shows the north and south towers of the Spinnaker Condominiums.


SEA ISLE CITY – Workers were refurbishing the concrete on two balconies when one balcony collapsed onto another at the south tower of the oceanfront Spinnaker condominium complex, according to a federal agency investigating the fatal accident.

Jose Pereira, 43, of Philadelphia, an employee of a private contractor that was working on the exterior of the building, was killed Friday when the concrete balcony on the eighth floor collapsed and crushed him. He was standing on a balcony on the seventh floor.

Two other workers were on the balcony on the eighth floor when it collapsed, but they suffered only minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

Although the cause of the collapse has not yet been determined, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed that concrete work was being done on the balconies when the accident occurred.

“The workers were refurbishing the cement at the time of the incident,” OSHA spokeswoman Leni Fortson said in an email Monday.

Fortson said no other information is available at this time. OSHA, a federal agency that investigates workplace accidents, has up to six months to conduct its probe and release the findings, she noted. Sea Isle police are also conducting an investigation.

Authorities estimated that each balcony weighed between 11,000 and 15,000 pounds. Emergency crews had to stabilize the balcony on the seventh floor before attempting to recover Pereira’s body.

The recovery plan included creating an opening in the wall of the building by cutting through approximately 12 inches of reinforced concrete and then lifting the balcony off Pereira’s body using air bags.

Workers were on the balconies of both the seventh and eighth floors when the collapse happened.

Pereira was employed by Ferguson Contracting Inc. of Yardley, Pa., according to authorities. The company could not be immediately reached Monday for comment. Ferguson Contracting specializes in concrete repairs, masonry restoration, waterproofing and historic restoration of buildings, the company’s website states.

Fortson confirmed that OSHA is also looking into Ferguson Contracting as part of the investigation. She said Ferguson does not have any history of fines or workplace accidents with OSHA.

Meanwhile, all of the balconies on the exterior of the Spinnaker’s south tower, near where the accident occurred, are currently being stabilized, authorities said in a news release on Saturday.

Once the building is considered safe, further evaluations on both the Spinnaker’s south and north towers will be conducted by private engineers.

“We’re waiting to see what happens on the site now that the Spinnaker has hired private engineers, Sea Isle spokeswoman Katherine Custer said.

Custer stressed that the Spinnaker is a privately owned building. No one could be reached for comment Monday at the Spinnaker Condominium Association.

The Spinnaker condominiums were built in the early 1970s and include twin north and south towers nine stories tall overlooking the ocean.

An advertisement published in 1976 said condos were selling then for $53,000 for two-bedroom units and about $63,000 for three bedrooms. It is common for the Spinnaker condos to sell these days for more than $800,000, real estate listings show.

Each condo has a balcony facing the ocean, while most of the three-bedroom units also have a larger balcony on the side of the building, according to a chronology of the Spinnaker’s construction at History – Spinnaker ( It was one of the side balconies that collapsed on the eighth floor of the south tower.

Emergency workers respond at the accident scene Friday.


Categories: Sea Isle City

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.