Wooden stage collapses as girls perform

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ANAHEIM (CNS) – Too many people and too much weight on a wooden stage were identified today as the likely causes for its collapse at Servite High School in Anaheim, which caused moderate injuries to at least 25 students.
Video shot by parents, first obtained by the Orange County Register, showed that the stage was packed with teenagers from Rosary High School in Fullerton, who were swaying in unison. When they began to jump up and down in time with the music, the stage collapsed and the 25 girls or so in front plummeted down and out of sight.
As many as 250 girls from Rosary High were in the auditorium at Servite High in Anaheim when the wooden stage gave way just before 10 p.m. Saturday. The most-serious injuries appeared to be broken bones and cuts, firefighters said.
The collapse occurred as the girls performed Rosary High’s annual Red and Gold Rally in the theatre at the boy’s high school at 1952 West La Palma Ave., said Lt. Tim Schmidt, Anaheim’s public safety spokesman.
“Jeff Lutz, our city’s Fire Marshal is taking the lead in investigating what caused the collapse, which at this point looks like too many students and too much weight on the platform stage,” Anaheim police Lt. Tim Schmidt told City News Service. Schmidt is also the city’s public safety spokesman and handles both police and fire department issues.
“The fire marshal’s office will be assisted by our city’s Planning and Building department in this inquiry,” he added.
Schmidt also said the private high school’s platform stage was previously permitted for use, but now the investigating agencies will be rechecking that permit to see if it included a weight restriction or a limit as to the number of people who could safely be on the stage at one time.
Rosary is an all-girls Catholic high school in Fullerton founded in 1965. It utilizes the theatre of the all-boys Servite High School for its annual Red and Gold event, according to Rosary’s website.
“Twenty-five students were transported to area hospitals with moderate injuries,” Schmidt continued. Those injuries included broken bones, scrapes and bruises.

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