By Joe Johnson
Approximately 25 people, including University of Georgia students were injured early Friday when a house in Athens collapsed during a party attended by an estimated 500 people.
Based on social media chatter, the party apparently was hosted by UGA students, but that could not be immediately confirmed through official sources.
According to Capt. Nate Moss of the Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department, personnel from his department responded to a 1 a.m. request for services at 172 Magnolia Bluff Drive.
“When information was gathered that the emergency was related to a floor collapse due to an unusually large number of people that were inside the residence, the response was upgraded to include an engine, rescue truck, and a battalion chief,” Moss said.
“Also, it was confirmed that Athens-Clarke County Police units were already on scene removing victims from the structure and National EMS ambulances were responding,” he said. “As more information related to the nature of the emergency and the number of potential patients was relayed to our units while en route, an additional rescue truck and battalion chief were called to also respond.”
Moss said that emergency units had difficulty getting to the house due to massive amounts of vehicles and people blocking the street.
“When our crews finally made it to the home, they found a two-story home over a high crawl space,” he said. “The majority of the first floor had collapsed into the crawl space due to dozens of people who had overcrowded the space while having a party.”
Rescue crews assisted police in the removal of victims from the crawl space and assisted EMS crews with triaging patients and assessing injuries, according to Moss.
Moss said that personnel from his agency and National EMS treated patients at the scene, where it was estimated that there were 25 victims with injuries ranging from scratches and cuts to a possible broken arm.
“No patients were transported by EMS,” he said. “Some of the patients said they would drive themselves or be driven to the hospital by a friend. There were no apparent life-threatening injuries.
Moss estimated that close to 500 people were at the scene,” Moss said.
Code enforcement was contacted to see if the property should be condemned.
"We are grateful that this unexpected event didn't turn out any worse than it did", Moss said. "Many times, overcrowding can result in collapses of decks and flooring, especially in older structures. The thing that helped, in this case, was the lack of elevation", says Moss. "These folks should consider themselves fortunate."
A GoFundMe account has been established to assist victims with medical expenses.