HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — At least two dozen people were injured Thursday when the second floor of a garage apartment collapsed during a religious event held at a home in Katy, Texas.
Houston Fire Department Capt. Ruy Lozano said at least 125 people had gathered for a celebration west of Houston when the incident occurred shortly before 1 p.m. Central Time. Some of the people were in a room above a detached garage when the flooring gave way and collapsed into the garage below. Those at the event were part of the Indian religion Jainism, one of the four major religions in that country. They had gathered to celebrate with a religious leader from India.
"Everyone was busy praying and it just collapsed," one witness said.
Another witness said he heard a large "boom."
"Some of the ladies fell down first," said Arund Kamdar.
Witnesses said the second floor fell, making a pancake layer onto the first floor.
"My wife was also inside, underneath, she was at the bottom," Kamdar said.
Kamdar said he and seven other men rushed in to try to hold up what they could.
"Four or five people gathered to take the ladies out one-by-one," Kamdar said.
One person suffered a serious head wound and about 30 others were treated for various injuries.
In all, 50 people were taken to hospitals. Three people suffered "urgent" but not critical injuries, while the others mostly suffered minor injuries, Lozano said.
The youngest patient was reportedly 8 years old, firefighters said.
Aerial views showed that several people were being treated outside the evacuated home. More than a dozen ambulances responded to the scene. Firefighters and emergency crews treated people outside in a makeshift triage area set up in the front yards of nearby homes.
The collapse was not visible from outside the garage, but one exterior wall showed signs of rippling or buckling. Investigators said the apartment unit above the garage was designed to only hold about six people and there were at least 40 people inside when the collapse happened.
Contributing: The Associated Press