By Eric Francis Standard Correspondent
SHARON – A dozen people were hurt Thursday evening when a porch deck collapsed on the back of house overlooking the south bank of the White River where a family was holding a Fourth of July gathering.
In the hour that followed, firefighters from three towns and rescuers from five ambulance services checked out a dozen patients and ended up transporting five of them to hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries that were believed to include fractured legs, ankles, and knees.
“Most of the people just had bumps and bruises and didn’t get transported but we did check out probably twelve people,” recalled South Royalton Fire Chief Paul Brock, who was assisting the incident commander, Sharon Fire Captain Nathan Potter, at the scene.
Chief Brock said that a gathering of family and friends had been underway at a residence on River Road opposite the Sharon Commerce Park when the home’s deck abruptly failed just after 9 p.m.
“I would say it was caused by the volume of people who were on it and there may have been some other structural issues,” Brock said.
Brock said the age range among those on the deck when it suddenly plunged 12-to-14 feet to the ground ranged from adults in their 60s to three and four-year-old children and even an infant, who was not hurt.
“It was a wide range of people, a lot of family and some friends,” the chief said.
The Sharon and South Royalton Fire Departments responded to the scene and Hartford sent their heavy rescue truck along with a pair of paramedics. Two Hartford ambulances were also sent along with additional rigs from
White River Valley Rescue and First Branch Ambulance.
Although their were initial reports of people trapped by the fallen deck, Brock said the rescue effort went smoothly. “We had a couple of people who were still near the deck who were injured that they didn’t want to move but we were able to get them out,” Brock said, concluding, “It was dark but everybody worked very well together to get them the help they needed.”