Ohio firefighters called to high school prom after floor collapsed as students danced
Violet Township Assistant Fire Chief Jim Paxton said many variables could have caused the structural collapse scenario
The Charlotte Observer
PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Firefighters were called to an Ohio high school prom when the venue’s floor collapsed as students danced, officials said.
The “unforeseen structural concern” caused Pickerington North High School’s prom on May 7 to be moved from The Wigwam event center to a tent, the venue said in a Facebook post.
Violet Fire Department officials were called to the venue around 10 p.m., Assistant Fire Chief Jim Paxton told McClatchy News.
“There were no injuries, but part of the floor collapsed during prom in the area where the dance floor is,” Paxton said.
According to Paxton, a dance floor was laid out ahead of the prom on top of carpeting. During the event, the floor underneath the dance floor “gave way,” he said.
The fire department determined there were no injuries, and investigated the structural damage, he said. The firefighters then put up a temporary structure to prevent the floor from further caving into the basement.
Paxton said the 30-year-old venue will likely undergo structural repairs.
“I’m not an engineer ... but the dance floor, obviously there were a lot of bodies in a condensed space at that point,” he said. “You know, the manner of their dancing, they’re jumping ... there are a lot of variables that could take place there and it might be a combination.”
Pickerington North senior Raydn Allbaugh told WCMH that he was “scared the floor was about to fall through.”
“All (of a) sudden, the floor started to shake underneath everybody,” Allbaugh told the news outlet.
The Wigwam, a 63-acre property that includes a 500-person banquet hall, said it evacuated the building “as an abundance of caution.”
“The safety of our guests is always our utmost concern and we appreciate the cooperation of every student and guest here tonight,” the venue said. “We are certain that this night will be memorable for everyone.”
Pickerington is about 16 miles southeast of downtown Columbus.