Homeowners are being called on to inspect their properties after a Christmas Tupperware party in Melbourne’s east came to an unthinkable end with the collapse of a balcony killing two people and injuring 17 others.
An investigation is underway into why the structure crumbled, trapping partygoers in the rubble.
Amid the Christmas party chaos, a street in Doncaster East became a makeshift emergency room for the walking wounded.
The group describes themselves as a family, with 12 treated at the scene in addition to the 17 others taken to hospital.
“This is a tragic incident that has been magnified by the fact that we're only one week away from Christmas,” said Victoria Police Acting Superintendent Kieran Maloney.
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A group of about 30 Tupperware employees had been trying to take a group photo on the balcony when the floor fell in, sending partygoers tumbling into the rubble.
“The crash was biblical,” neighbour Andrew Stone said.
“The sound of it was like nothing I’ve heard before. And of course, followed by the screaming and that sort of thing.”
Neighbours scrambled to help, but a 59-year-old Croydon woman couldn't be saved while a 37-year-old Reservoir woman died in hospital Sunday morning.
Neighbours said the party hosts, Tupperware directors Chris and Eve Nunn, are a friendly couple who often hold gatherings at their home.
They took a photo on the balcony at last year's Christmas party and hoped to replicate it.
But it's believed a heavy fridge and barbecue were on the decking this year when it collapsed on Saturday night.
“It's bit of a cliché but that sort of thing just doesn't happen in Doncaster East,” added another neighbour.
Building inspectors attended the home on Sunday to assess the damage, the tragedy prompting a warning from industry experts who want all homeowners to ensure their properties are safe.
Melbourne architect Peter Georgiev said in particular, “old timber balconies built ‘70s, 80s, 90s, are vulnerable to these sorts of collapses” needed to be looked at.
Mr Georgiev says the balcony should have been able to bear the weight, asserting “there should be no excuse for this to have happened”.
Police are preparing a report for the coroner with Premier Daniel Andrews keeping wary of any lessons to come out of the tragedy.
“There'll be proper investigation of this and if there are any learnings we can glean from this terrible incident then of course we stand ready to do that,” he said.