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Emergency crews treated people outside collapsed building.

Cody Duty, Associated Press

Dozens hurt in Texas apartment collapse

  • Article by: Matt Pearce
  • Los Angeles Times
  • June 27, 2014 - 4:35 AM

At least 36 people were hospitalized Thursday when the second floor of a packed Houston-area apartment building collapsed onto a crowd of people during a religious gathering, officials said.

No one was killed or critically injured, according to a fire department spokesman. Local news reports said that the congregants were believers in Jainism, an Indian faith.

About 100 to 125 attendees ranging from elderly to toddlers, with many men wearing ceremonial white gowns and women in brightly colored clothing, were estimated to have gathered at the home in Katy on a special occasion.

There had been about 40 people on the second floor when it plunged into a garage area that was filled with people, who were then trapped beneath the wreckage, said Tim Thomas, a spokesman for the West I-10 Fire Department.

“Everyone is falling on each other, and for a while you cannot breathe,” one injured woman said. “After a few minutes, you cannot move your legs or anything, right, because everyone is on you.”

Other attendees quickly rushed to hold up the remains of the second floor to help others escape. “It was a pretty heroic attempt,” Thomas said.

Three of the victims were hospitalized in “urgent but not critical” condition; injuries generally included minor cuts, scrapes, bruises, head lacerations and perhaps one broken arm, Thomas said.

© 2014 Star Tribune