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Calgary man falls 2 storeys after Vernon Airbnb balcony gives way

The incident happened near Silver Star on Aug. 12

Two hours after a Calgary man checked into a Silver Star Airbnb, his life took a drastic turn.

Lawrence Pickrem had just finished settling for what was to be a three-day weekend with friends when he went out onto the rental’s balcony and leaned up against the railing.

The railing gave way and Pickrem fell two storeys onto concrete, shattering his pelvis and tailbone and rupturing his spleen.

“My friend who is about 250 pounds fell with me, or on me, but his head hit the concrete and he fractured his skull,” said Pickrem.

Both Pickrem and his friend Berrett were taken to the hospital, with Pickrem being rushed into surgery. A third man also fell but managed to land on the grass.

“I knew what was happening when I started to fall but I couldn’t stop it,” explained Pickrem. “When the railing gave way it failed from the top, so the bottom part kicked out and tripped us up.”

Now six days later Pickrem remains in Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Berrett, who fractured his skull, was released soon after the incident and he returned home to Calgary with the rest of Pickrem’s friends.

Pickrem is originally from Halifax and had recently moved to Calgary for his job as a carpenter. He doesn’t have B.C. medical or private insurance in Alberta.

“They want to get me back to Calgary, of course, and it will be cheaper for me to get rehabilitation,” said Pickrem.

He was told it could take up to three months before he could walk again, which will greatly impact his employment as a labourer.

His sister Brittany started a GoFundMe to help Pickrem with the medical costs along with other expenses.

“She has been such a big support and it means a lot that people have taken the time to donate,” said Pickrem.

Airbnb refunded the entire stay for Pickrem and his friends, but he wants to take legal action against the homeowners for their neglect in ensuring their residence was safe before renting it out.

“I am a carpenter and I have worked on a lot of structures and this railing couldn’t have been up to code. I know each province is different but this wasn’t even attached properly to the structure,” he said.

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Jen Zielinski

About the Author: Jen Zielinski

Graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. Also holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University.
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