Police tell PEOPLE that "several hundred" people were at the party in Athens, Georgia before the first floor of the house collapsed at about 1 a.m. Friday

By Morgan Smith
April 19, 2021 05:06 PM
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Credit: Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services

At least 25 people are injured after a floor collapsed into a crawl space during a house party near the University of Georgia early Friday, police tell PEOPLE.

Lt. Shaun Barnett of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department estimates that "several hundred" people attended the party at a two-story house in Athens, Georgia, and the first floor of the house collapsed at about 1 a.m. Friday.

Partygoers' injuries were minor, ranging from cuts and scratches to a possible broken arm, and no one was taken to the hospital, though some attendees said they would seek medical attention, Barnett says. 

Firefighters had trouble accessing the house, as there were "massive amounts of vehicles blocking the street," Capt. Nate Moss of the Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department said, according to the Associated Press.

The majority of the first floor had collapsed into the crawl space due to "dozens of people who had overcrowded the space" during the party, fire department officials said in a news release, per the AP.

"We are grateful that this unexpected event didn't turn out any worse than it did," Moss told the AP. "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. These folks should consider themselves fortunate."

Clayton Harden, a senior at the University of Georgia who lives close to the house, told Atlanta Fox affiliate WAGA that the loud crash woke him up.

"I just watched people leave in stretchers from my window and everybody kind of scattered out," he said. "People were just kind of checking on each other." 

Another student, Devin Jones, told WAGA he saw students break down the house's basement door to free trapped partygoers. 

"I thought people were fighting," he said. "But they were actually trying to break into that door to get people out from underneath the floor."

Jones said that his roommate jumped in to rescue people and they gave some injured partiers ice.

"That's really all we could do," he told the outlet.

Harden said that there have been some "pretty big parties" in the neighborhood, but that Friday's party was "probably the biggest" he had seen.

Barnett says the local code enforcement office responded to the incident early Friday and condemned the property for being unsafe.