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OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) – Several people, including children, had to be rushed to hospital after a partial ceiling collapsed at a middle school in Oakland Park.

Oakland Park and Fort Lauderdale fire rescue teams responded to the scene at Rickards Middle School on Friday morning.

According to the school district, the collapse affected the school’s media center.

“Before 10 am this morning, the principal of Rickards Middle was in his office when he heard a noise, which was followed by a subsequent noise,” said Keyla Concepcion of Broward County Public Schools. “When he got out to investigate and see where the noise was coming from, that’s when he realized that the media center, which is currently under construction, the roof collapsed. Fortunately, there were no students or faculty members inside the media center. Everyone was evacuated to nearby Northeast High School.

“The roof and joists had collapsed onto the media floor,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Stephen Krivjanik. “There was a major water leak in there.”

There were 184 students and 55 faculty members in the building at the time, but they all managed to get out safely. There was also a construction crew on campus at the time of the collapse.

According to fire crews, a dozen people complained of minor ailments such as headaches, nausea and anxiety and were rushed to Holy Cross Hospital and Broward Health Medical Center.

Jeff Olibrice twisted his ankle during the incident.

“I’m fine, thank goodness,” he said. “I was going to use the bathroom, then that’s when I was going out, and then I heard something big. I thought they were just fixing something, but I saw everyone running, and the teacher told me to run so I just ran. Then I twisted my ankle.

“Right now there are various minor complaints from two adults and seven children regarding headaches and nausea,” Krivjanik said.

“We were crawling under all the debris,” said Anya, a student at the school. “It was all in our hair and everything when we got up there. I scratched my knee on the piece of metal because everything fell off. There was metal everywhere.

“It was just a loud ‘BOOM’ and then all the electricity went down all the way down the hall,” said student Sadel Howard. “All the lights go out throughout the hallway. It was scary. I’m happy to be OK. I am happy to say that I did well.

“They were doing construction work in the media center and I think they were knocking down the walls,” student Matthew Moron said. “We heard one, ‘BOOM’ and like the ceiling was shaking. We heard a second one, the teacher told us to go to the far left of the classroom because the far right was where the media center was. Then the third, the lights went out, then the whole ceiling fell.

“My teacher, when she saw the teachers and the students burn out, she just said to us, ‘Drop everything and run,’” Howard said.

Krivjanik said he sent dogs inside and used a drone to make sure no one was trapped in the rubble.

“Fortunately, thanks to our research and our primary education and the great attention of the school principal and his staff, they were able to evacuate everyone, get all the workers out of the site, so everyone was taken care of. counts, but to be sure, we always do. regularly another secondary search we also brought a dog to search the whole school to make sure there was no one inside and also a drone to check that there was no one on the roof who could have been injured during the collapse, ”Krivjanik mentioned.

He added: “Once it’s all over, it’s all over, we can absolutely confirm that there were no injuries inside the school, no one was trapped. Everyone has been evacuated correctly and is counted. “

7News spoke to parents who picked up their children.

“My son called me and told me the roof had collapsed at the school and he was scared, so he said he had to crawl through a hole to get to the roof to be able to leave. school, so I’m not sure what’s going on, ”a parent said. “I panicked. I immediately left the house with no purse, nothing. I just hope everything is fine.

Cell phone footage showed the roof completely collapsed. Concrete, electrical wires, pipes and air conditioning ducts were seen thrown in piles on the floor of the media center.

Students and staff were immediately evacuated to Northeast High School as a precaution.

“The most important thing is obviously the safety of the students and our faculty, and we are very grateful that none of them have been injured, that no one has been inside this media center in time of the incident, and now it’s okay for the city and the facility staff to come out and inspect the rest of the structure to determine safety, ”Concepcion said.

Fortunately, e-learning is already in place, so administrators can decide to continue e-learning next week or until they come up with a plan for students who have opted in to learning. in person.

The district said they were investigating the cause of the collapse.

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