A night that began with a college house party ended in panic, pain and paramedics on the scene Saturday night. Approximately 100 people were packed inside a Seminole Grand apartment when the floor collapsed.
“It was terrifying,” said second-year Florida A&M student AJ Nelson, describing the collapse.
After the floor gave in, the 20-year-old from Plant City, Fla., jumped onto the counter, got a running start and leapt across the room to a remaining section of floor to reach the front door of the apartment.
“It sounded like somebody was stomping the first time we heard the noise,” Nelson said. “The DJ came on the mic and asked ‘Is somebody stepping in here?'”
That noise was the floor slowly breaking under thousands of pounds of weight.
“We all just stopped what we were doing and after the three seconds of silence, everyone realized what was going on and tried to break for the door,” Nelson said. “But before people could get to the door, the floor just quickly started sinking in.”
The floor had given way leaving several partygoers trapped under bricks, debris and other people. Water rushed in all directions from the broken pipes.
Ambulances arrived within minutes of emergency calls from neighbors reportedly hearing screaming and loud cries. Out of the 55 people who were injured, 12 were transported to the hospital.
Officer Anitra Highland of the Tallahassee Police Department said the injuries ranged from “broken bones to sprains, but none were life-threatening.”
Eyewitnesses said that a brick fell on one person’s face, and someone else had a broken jaw.
Nelson escaped injuries. Unfortunately, others weren’t so lucky.
Ron Davis, a 19-year-old Tallahassee Community College student, from Tampa and friend of Nelson received more than 10 stitches in his right leg after pulling it from under a massive cement slab. Davis said he drove himself to the hospital.
“I got there at 2 a.m. and left at 6 a.m. We were all lined up in the hallway,” Davis said.
Social media sites erupted when the news of the collapse broke. People posted pictures of injuries and the many police cars on Twitter. @shelby_AK47 tweeted “Seminole Grand is soo crazy right now…it was the grace of God that I didn’t go in that party.”
Many of the party attendees are left wondering if Seminole Grand will accept responsibility for the accident. It is speculated that injured guests may seek legal action against the property owners. Konstance Milton, 19, second-year biology student from Plant City, Fla., said the apartments should be held fully accountable for her injuries.
“Who goes to an apartment and thinks the floor’s going to collapse and they’re going to be pummeled by people and cement? Someone will pay for this,” Milton said.
According to the Community Standards, Policies and Procedures sections of Seminole Grand’s lease, ” Landlord requires that no more than 10 persons be allowed in the Unit at any one time…If resident is in violation of this condition of the Housing Agreement, the total cost of repairs for any and all damages caused by an excess of people in the Unit or areas outside the Unit will be the responsibility of the Resident.”
On Sunday, Seminole Grand Community Manager Leonard Edmond released a statement to the residents notifying them of the repair plans in place.
“Our top priority is restoring service to each of you; we want to get things back to normal as soon as possible! The central hub of our cable and internet services runs through our office, we are making that one of the first things we restore,” Edmond said.