Nearly 40 injured in Houston-area building collapse
Friday, June 27, 2014 - 01:16
Several dozen people are injured at a Houston suburban home after a portion of the ceiling crashes down onto some 100 people who had gathered for a religious event. Mana Rabiee reports.
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It was meant to be a festive religious gathering at this Houston-area cul-de-sac.
Instead, nearly 40 people were injured Thursday, after the ceiling of a garage apartment collapsed on nearly 100 guests.
SOUNDBITE: GUEST SAROJ GHALANI SAYING:'
"We felt like everything was falling down and then everyone is falling on each other. So for a while you cannot breathe."
Rescuers had to set up a triage on the front lawn.
SOUNDBITE: WITNESS ARUND KAMDAR SAYING:
"Once they fell down, everything came on them, and that's the reason why everyone got injured, too. And so many ladies fell down first. And on top of one lady, and a second lady on the top, and then structure on the top."
One person had a severe head injury but most of the injuries were scrapes and bruises.
SOUNDBITE: NEIGHBOR ASHLEY NIEMI SAYING:
"Afterwards, they were all coming together and helping each other and really calm."
Neighbors say the homeowners had told them to expect up to 150 guests, for an event that including music and dancing.
Firefighters say there's just no occupancy limit for a private home.
SOUNDBITE: CAPTAIN RUY LOZANO, HOUSTON FIRE DEPT, SAYING:
"We don't go around regulating residential. I don't know what the rule says but traditional occupancy permits all go to commercial, so when you have a party at your house, I mean, we just have to use good judgment."
Firefighters say it was the weight of all those guests packed into the garage apartment that snapped a support beam.
After the collapse, some of the guests held up that beam while others helped everyone else get out.
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