ATHENS, Ga. — Fire officials say a massive party is to blame for the collapse of a floor in Athens that injured more than 20 people on Friday morning.
The Athens-Clarke County Fire Department issued a statement on Friday night explaining the circumstances of the collapse, which happened around 1 a.m. Authorities said they were called to a home in the 100 block of Magnolia Bluff Drive where the victims had fallen through the floor into the crawlspace below.
By the time they arrived, police were already working to remove victims from the structure and ambulances were responding. However, crews had a difficult time getting to the home due to the massive number of cars that were there. Fire officials estimated roughly 500 people were at the scene at the time.
Inside the home, a majority of the floor had fallen into what firefighters described as a high crawl-space due to dozens of people who had overcrowded the space during a party.
After setting up a triage, emergency responders spoke with 25 people who had injuries ranging from scratches and cuts to a broken arm. None of the injuries were life-threatening and ambulances didn't take anyone from the scene. However, some told responders they would drive themselves or have a friend take them to an area hospital.
Fire Captain Nate Moss said that the department was glad the situation didn't turn out more dire than it had - and that the house itself may have been the reason for that.
"Many times, overcrowding can result in collapses of decks and flooring, especially in older structures," Moss said. "The thing that helped, in this case, was the lack of elevation."
The next step at the property, the fire department said, will be an inspection by code enforcement to see whether the property should be condemned.