Trinity student injured in deck collapse describes what happened

Police are continuing to investigate what caused the decks to collapse. (WFSB)

It was a moment of panic as dozens of Trinity College students were hurt after a massive deck collapse Saturday night.

Five students were living in the two-family home on Broad Street, which is owned by Trinity College.

It is not a fraternity house but the students who live there are part of Greek life. Although Trinity College owns the house, it is not managed by the school.

The house was sold to "trustees of Trinity College" in September of 2011 for $300,000 dollars. Records show the home is valued at $150,000.

The students threw a party, and what happened at that party is something the school never expected to happen.

“I just looked at my friend in panic and before we knew it, it all came down. I was forced forward and trapped underneath,” said student Julianna Leone, who was on a deck when it collapsed on Saturday night. “I started hearing wood cracking above me and screams of panic as people from the top balcony were being pushed forward. The balcony came down and I remember, I tried to reach up to grab the balcony to see if I could hold it up.”

It became a domino effect, as the upper deck crashed onto the lower deck -- all pushed to the ground. Thirty-one people were hurt.

“Basically on the ground and there were pieces of giant wood from the balcony above and the rubble just on me,” Leone said.

According to witnesses, between five and 10 people were on each deck. Leone said she remembers being able to move around, so it wasn’t packed.

“I think the balcony fell because the top started coming down, the weight of the wood and people on it forced it down,” Leone said.

There were about 40 to 50 people at the party, which police say wasn't out of control and the residents told the college they were throwing a party with alcohol involved.

Leone was recently released from the hospital, as she has a concussion. She said there were other students who have broken bones. She said she feels very lucky.

“I remember sitting on that street corner as they were wheeling people away thinking someone could be dead or paralyzed and it was a miracle no one was killed,” Leone said.

Eyewitness News learned that the last time the home was inspected was 10 years ago.

The only permit the city has on record was in 2009 for renovations. Eyewitness News didn’t see anything since Trinity bought the property.

City records show the home was inspected in the summer of 2006 and in 1998.

Eyewitness News was told the city isn't required to inspect two-family homes, unless there is an active compliant. Currently, there is not a compliant on the property.

It’s up to the management company to maintain the property.

Police are still looking into what happened.

In a statement on Sunday, Trinity College said in part "While this event is upsetting, we are grateful that none of the injuries are life-threatening."

On Monday the college said accommodations had been made for the five students who lived in the house, as the home cannot be occupied.

“The Trinity community is continuing to process and recover from the incident, and on Sunday at 4 p.m., students, support staff, and faculty gathered in the Trinity College Chapel to reflect and offer care and support to one another. Trinity Counseling Center staff and Chaplains remain available to students, and urgent requests for assistance should be directed to Campus Safety,” the college said.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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