Floor collapse at Mississippi church center; at least 35 hurt

Associated Press

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LAUREL, Miss. — Authorities say the second floor of an activity center at a Mississippi church collapsed during a youth service, sending about 70 people tumbling and injuring 35 of them.

Linda Cranford, spokeswoman for the Jones County Fire Council, told The Chronicle in Laurel that 35 people were hurt but none of the injuries were life-threatening.

She says a 16-year-old girl was taken to a hospital in Hattiesburg with a head injury after the floor collapse Wednesday evening at the Freedom Baptist Church in Myrick.

She said 19 others were taken to a hospital for treatment. Authorities say most were later released. Witnesses say injuries included scrapes, cuts and possibly some broken bones.

Students said the collapse came unexpectedly while the service was under way.

“We heard a huge rumble and the floor collapsed and people collapsed with it,” said one 18-year-old female student. She said stunned students were tossed all about.

Witnesses said the youngsters attending the service were in the 7th to 12th grades.

Dozens of those who tumbled were shaken but had only minor injuries and were released at the scene once they were checked out by emergency crews. Worried-looking relatives stood by amid the flashing lights of ambulances and emergency vehicles in the aftermath.

Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge said the drop was about 12 feet in the floor collapse.

Dispatcher Amanda Lofton at the Jones County Sheriff’s Office told AP early Thursday she had no additional information to release about the injured and that authorities had no preliminary report on what caused the floor collapse.

Myrick is a small rural community northeast of Hattiesburg in southeastern Mississippi.