Deck collapse leaves 2 in hospital

At Greg Tulgren home in FL

Cliff Buchan
News Editor

Two people remain hospitalized after a deck collapsed at a Forest Lake home on Saturday night.

It was a bittersweet ending for a family gathering at the Greg and Nancy Tulgren home to celebrate an upcoming travel adventure for the two Tulgren daughters, Chelsey, 25, and Makayne, 22.

A total of 27 family members and friends were gathered on the deck and preparing for a group photo when the deck collapsed. Chelsey Tulgren was at the base of the deck and preparing to shoot the photo when the collapse happened, Nancy Tulgren said on Monday.

The collapse came at 8 p.m. during a family gathering that had started at 5:30. Emergency personnel from Forest Lake Fire & Rescue, the Forest Lake Police Department and North Rescue were quickly on scene to aid the injured.

Eight people were taken to hospitals. Five people with broken ankles were treated, Nancy Tulgren said.

A Forest Lake man was airlifted to Regions Hospital, St. Paul, with two broken ankles. His wife was taken by ground ambulance to Regions with a broken ankle. Both remained at Regions on Monday.

Six others were taken to Fairview Lakes Medical Center, Wyoming, where they were treated and released, Nancy Tulgren said. Her parents, Roger and Gloria Koreen of White Bear Lake, both received minor injuries in the collapse.

“Everyone we love in the world was on the deck,” Nancy Tulgren said. She credited family friend Peter Nora, a volunteer firefighter from Scandia, for providing a calming influence and helping with initial first aid steps. Nora’s wife, Colleen, also broke an ankle in the collapse.

The family gathering was celebrating an upcoming trip to Africa by Chelsey and MaKayne. They leave on August 29 for Cape Town, South Africa, where they will begin a 2500-mile backpacking journey to Kenya.

The sisters are veterans of the AmeriCorps program and this will be Chelsey’s third trip to Africa. She has been involved with running a feeding center for the poor in Kenya and the sisters plan to spend a month there before returning home.

Chelsey is a 2010 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in agriculture education. Makayne plans to resume her college education in the spring at the University of Minnesota.