Students, staff evacuated from Broward school after partial roof collapse

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – Students and staff were evacuated from James S. Rickards Middle School Friday morning after the roof in the media center, which is under construction and where no one was, partially collapsed.

The incident occurred around 10 a.m.

Oakland Park spokeswoman Shannon Vezina confirmed that the school at 6000 NE Ninth Ave. there was a water leak that partially collapsed the roof and left considerable damage.

A total of 184 students and 55 employees were on campus at the time of the incident. They were evacuated to Northeast High School where the parents could pick up their children.

Broward County’s public schools confirmed that no one was in the media center at the time of the incident. However, Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela later learned that 13 students and staff were screened by first responders on campus, five of whom were taken to hospitals.

The injuries are said to be minor and not directly related to the roof collapse, but rather to symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

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Students who were physically attending school will be back to virtual learning from home next week, the district said.

Authorities said the headmaster heard two loud bangs before discovering that the roof had partially collapsed.

“This morning before 10am the headmaster was in his office when he heard a noise followed by a noise,” said Keyla Concepcion of Broward County Public Schools.

The media center has been under construction since the middle of last year as part of an ongoing $ 10 million project.

Firefighters searched the building to make sure no one was trapped.

“We also brought a dog to search the entire school to make sure no one was there and a drone to check that there was no one on the roof who might have been injured during the collapse,” said Chief Steve Krivjanik of the Oakland Park Fire Department.

Local 10 News spoke to parents rushing to pick up their children.

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“I panicked,” said one. “I literally just got out of the shower, got dressed, and came right here.”

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