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Inspection reveals home has multiple code violations after woman falls to death off balcony

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 8, 2015) - The house where a woman fell to her death from a balcony over the weekend is now being inspected by the Marion County Health Department.

Agents spent the afternoon at the home in the 1300 block of East Minnesota St. The inspection was an initial visual inspection from public property where agents investigated multiple code violations on the exterior of the home.

The violations include:

  • A handrail for the front porch
  • Soffits
  • Gutters
  • Downspouts
  • A fence around the property
  • Window frames

Also included in the list of violations is the balcony where a railing collapsed sending Denise Dohner, 51, two stories below to her death. Health department officials said although the balcony does have a new railing, it is still cause for concern.

"It looks like some of the wood is deteriorating and doesn't have paint on it either," explained Marion County Public Health Housing Department Team Leader, Lara Morgan.

The health department is requesting permission from the landlord, Dan Crook, to do a more in-dept inspection.

"It's walking on it. It's shaking the handrails. It's trying to step up on the steps and see how much give there might be on the steps. A lot of it's just physical observation," Morgan said.

Crooks will have 30 days to make repairs to the property. If those repairs aren't made or if Crook doesn't give permission to enter the home, the health department has the option to take him to environmental court. FOX59 found numerous code violations from other properties owned by Crook. One home that is now abandoned, has a $5,000 fee owed for an inspection violation. Crook told FOX59 he wasn't aware of the fine.

Numbers for complaints from the health department are on the rise. Officials said this year, there have been the following violations.

  • Trash orders issued through July 31 of 2015: 8282
  • Housing orders issued through July 31 of 2015: 2614
  • Complaints received through July 31 of 2015: 1335

Inspectors are able to write orders based on complaints or issues they see while driving through an area.