Reports from The Hartford Courant show that at least 30 students were injured and hospitalized after a balcony collapsed at an off-campus party at Trinity College, located in Hartford, Connecticut.
At first it was the usual college party hosted by Kappa Sigma Fraternity members on Broad St. The first weekend back at school, returning students and friends were getting reacquainted. Later that Saturday at around 11:15pm, the sound of cracking wood and soon after the screams and cries of the injured filled the air.
“I heard the wood cracking above me,” Julianna Leone, a Trinity senior from Chicago who was on the second-floor porch, said. “I looked at my friend and I thought to myself, this couldn’t be happening. I just screamed. There was nothing we could do. We couldn’t get off. We were just trapped there.”
Leone said she was at the edge of the porch looking at the people below when it collapsed, the top porch falling on the two porches below, bringing everyone down.
Leone later says that she was hit in the back of the head by a giant piece of wood. Recovering in her dorm room, Leone stresses how lucky she and the rest of the students were.
Some of the injured were hit by heavy porch scraps and are extremely lucky to walk away without any fatal injuries.
Injuries included cuts and scrapes, broken bones and concussions. Luckily none of the injuries were life-threatening. Most of the injured were described as “walking wounded.” One individual declined medical treatment.
Nick Dibenedetto was heading to the party and paused briefly to chat with a friend on Crescent Street when he heard the sound of wood cracking. He looked toward the house and saw the third-floor porch floor drop.
“People were sliding off before it fell and then the second floor did the same thing,” he said. “The people on the porch slid to the porch below, then that porch collapsed. The poles were collapsed in.”
Dibenedetto later described that the incident was like a domino effect.
Inspectors from Hartford’s licenses and inspections division went to the house early Sunday to survey the damage.
“The deck literally came detached from the house and collapsed,” Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said early Sunday. “Those were heavy old decks that came down. At the point, the third floor, you look and see a lot of the wood was rotted and very old and structurally not very sound and when you get 50 or 60 kids out there partying on the decks it’s obviously a very dangerous situation.”
A three-story beer pong was also found on the scene.
The Courant reports that dozens of students helped to remove those trapped in the rubble. Paramedics and firefighters treated the injured students, while others held each other, cried and called their parents.
A few members of Trinity’s rowing teams were at the party and among those injured, according to a post to the Trinity College women’s rowing Facebook page.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin had also released a statement on the incident:
We are relieved to hear that there were no life-threatening injuries that emerged from this incident, and wish everyone at Trinity College a quick and efficient recovery!
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