A dozen people were injured after the second floor of an apartment building collapsed late Saturday in west central Pennsylvania, just over a mile from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, according to state police.
Injuries “ranged from minor to serious” following the collapse at the Elm by Traverse Commons apartment complex in White Township, in Indiana County, about 66 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, according to Trooper First Class Clifford Greenfield, public information officer for the Pennsylvania State Police. The complex advertises its apartments as off-campus housing for students of the nearby university, although it’s not known at this time if any of the injured were students.
The twelve injured were treated at the scene, and seven were transported to a local hospital for further treatment, according to Greenfield. Their conditions were not immediately available Sunday afternoon.
Police believe least one other injured person went to the hospital in a private car, Greenfield said.
When the first trooper arrived on the scene just before midnight, he was approached by several “frantic people” who told him “that the floor had collapsed in the apartment and multiple casualties were identified,” according to Greenfield, adding that the initial caller reported someone lying in the road near Medlar Drive and Copper Beech Drive.
Greenfield said “several people” were inside the apartment at the time of the floor collapse, but that police do not know exactly how many.
Some escaped through a broken window on the first floor, which caused “many injuries,” Greenfield said. Members of the Indiana Fire Association searched the building when they arrived and did not find anyone else trapped inside, Greenfield said.
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation, according to Myles Snyder, communications director for the Pennsylvania State Police.
The apartment management company secured the property following the collapse to prevent reentry, Greenfield said. Police did not provide an exact address of where the collapse occurred.
Traverse Commons representatives did not respond to a call or email Sunday afternoon.
Greenfield said it’s unclear how many of those involved were university students or guests visiting during what has been dubbed “IUPatty’s weekend,” a delayed St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
University spokesperson Michelle Fryling said officials will offer help, including short-term housing, to affected students and their families if necessary, adding that officials still do not know how many people involved in the incident are IUP students.
The off-campus festivities have taken place in Indiana for years and have sometimes caused problems. In 2014, police responded to dozens of calls amid crowded borough streets, including hundreds packing one street and getting into brawls that were filmed and later posted online. In 2017, two off-campus shootings were reported.