Cleveland school gym room collapses, three students injured

CLEVELAND - The roof of a high school gym collapsed Friday, slightly injuring three students on a running track one floor below. A teacher said the gm had been closed days earlier because of a cracked beam.

Three East High School students, ages 14 and 15, had ''fairly minor'' injuries, according to school district spokesman Bill Wendling. In addition, one adult needed treatment for shortness of breath and another for a diabetic reaction, Wendling said.

Joe Marshall, 36, a physical education teacher, said the gym had been put off-limits last week because of a cracked ceiling beam.

Students running on a track one level below the gym floor heard a loud sound that began cascading from one end of the building to the other.

''The sound of the beams getting broken kept getting closer,'' Marshall said. ''It was a like a movie. The kids were running around away from the sound.''

The injuries may have resulted from falling debris or in the confusion as the students fled, Marshall said.

''We knew there was a beam that was cracked so we were not allowed in there,'' he said.

The collapse happened just before noon amid gusty winds, but there was no immediate indication that contributed to the collapse. The area had been hit by heavy rain over the past two days.

The school was evacuated and students were sent home for the day. The building will remain closed for the weekend, Wendling said.

Video shot from a WJW-TV helicopter showed the roof of the octagonal gym collapsed inside the building. From the street level, the top level of bricks on the gym facade had fallen away.


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