Survivor of Berkeley balcony collapse dies in Ireland

A survivor of the tragic balcony collapse in Berkeley that killed six people has died in Ireland, the Irish Times reported.

Aoife Beary died Saturday in Dublin, Ireland, after suffering a stroke last week. She was 27.

Beary was among 13 people on the balcony of the Library Gardens apartment complex at 2020 Kittredge St. on June 16, 2015, when it sheared off the building, sending them tumbling from the fifth floor.

Six people died and seven were left severely injured, including Beary, who suffered a brain injury, several broken bones, and underwent open heart surgery, the Irish Times reported Sunday.

Beary, who had come to Berkeley to work for the summer, was celebrating her 21st birthday with friends in her apartment at the complex that has been renamed K Street Flats.

The California State Contractor’s Licensing Board revoked the license of contractor Segue Construction of Pleasanton that oversaw the construction of the apartment complex, stating that it did not follow the building plans. Segue, which hired subcontractors to build and waterproof the balconies, neglected to use pressure-treated wood on the joists holding up the balcony that sheared off, the state said. Instead, the company used an inferior composite that was expressly prohibited in the plans and neglected to wrap the wood in a waterproof membrane.

In 2016, Beary testified before the California Legislature to force contractors to be more transparent about legal claims against them, the Irish Times reported. Later that year, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 465 into law that would allow previously exempt contractor records and documents to be shared under the Public Records Act.

Consul General of Ireland, Robert O’Driscoll, said in a statement that Aoife’s “powerful testimony” helped ensure that no one else would experience a similar tragedy.

“Her loss will be acutely felt by members of the emergency services who responded to the tragedy, the health and care workers in the Bay Area who got to know Aoife and her family during their time here, and the Irish community in the Bay Area and California who rallied to support the survivors and the families at the time of the tragedy and maintained contact thereafter,” O’Driscoll said.

“We would like to express our sincere condolences to Aoife’s family and loved ones and to reiterate our condolences to the other families who lost their own loved ones in these tragic events.”

A partial settlement was reached on behalf of all 13 victims against the contractors who built the complex.

Read more Berkeleyside coverage of the balcony collapse.

The six who died were Ashley Donohoe, 22, from Rohnert Park; and Olivia Burke, Eimear Walsh, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster and Lorcán Miller, all 21 and from Ireland. In 2018, the city of Berkeley unveiled a plaque honoring them at Civic Center Park.