Twelve people, including nine children, have been injured after a Florida middle school’s roof partially collapsed on Friday morning.
The incident occurred at James S Rickards Middle School, in Oakland Park, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, around 10am.
Authorities told Local 10 News that the school principal heard two loud bangs before discovering that the roof above the media center had partially caved in.
According to Oakland Park spokeswoman Shannon Vezina, a water leak at the school caused the collapsed and has left behind extensive damage.
On Friday, around 10am, the roof of the media center at James S Rickards Middle School, in Oakland Park, Florida, partially collapsed (left and right). Officials say 12 people, including nine children, were rushed to the hospital
The media center’s roof was undergoing construction at time, but no one was in the center when it collapsed
Dramatic cellphone footage showed the roof caved in with electrical wires and pipes scattered all over the floor.
A room painted bright blue with flowers is completed surrounded by rubble.
The school district told WSVN that the roof of the school’s media center was under construction when it collapsed.
Although no students or staff were inside the media center at the time, 12 people complained of ailments such as nausea, headaches or anxiety, the station reported.
At least five were taken to Holy Cross Hospital for observation.
‘Before 10 o’ clock this morning, the principal of Rickards Middle was in his office when he heard a noise which was followed by a subsequent noise,’ Keyla Concepcion with Broward County Public Schools, said in a statement.
‘When he went out to investigate and see where the noise was coming from, that’s where he realized that the media center, which is currently under construction, the roof collapsed.
‘Fortunately, no student or faculty members were inside the media center. Everyone has been evacuated to Northeast High School next door.’
At the time of the collapse, there were 184 students and 55 faculty members inside the school, reported WSVN.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Stephen Krivjanik said his team sent dogs inside the building to ensure no one was trapped under the rubble.
‘Luckily, through our search and our primaries and the great attentiveness of the school principal and their staff, they were able to evacuate everybody, get all the construction people out, so everyone was accounted for,’ he told WSVN.
‘But just to be sure, we always do routinely another secondary search, we also brought a dog in to search the entire school to make sure no one was in there and also a drone to check to make sure there was no one on the roof that maybe got hurt during the collapse.’
Oakland Park spokeswoman Shannon Vezina said a water leak at the school caused the collapsed and has left behind extensive damage
Parents were told that they could pick up their children from if they wish.
One mother expressed their fear to WSVN.’
‘My son called me and said that the roof had collapsed at the school and he was scared, so he said he had to crawl through some hole to get to the roof to be able to leave the school, so I’m not sure what’s going on,’ one parent said.
‘I panicked. I left the house right away with no purse, no nothing. I’m just hoping that everything’s okay.’
An investigation is currently underway and all utilities have been shut off so investigators can determine the extent of the damage, reported CBS Miami.