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Mississippi church floor collapses; 'miracle' no one was badly hurt

As far as congregants at a rural Mississippi church are concerned, God does indeed work in mysterious and miraculous ways.

On Wednesday night, the second floor of Freedom Baptist Church in Myrick, Miss., collapsed, sending about 70 parishioners tumbling through the floor during a youth worship service. About 35 were injured with what a church official on Thursday told the Los Angeles Times were “cuts and bruises.”

“It was a miracle,” Pastor Tommy Davis told the Times by telephone. “If you have an event that scary, so many things could have gone wrong. Electricity flowing through wires and gas flowing through pipes. It was a miracle there was no fire.

“So many things could have gone wrong,” Davis said. “But this was the best it could have been.”

Davis described the building as about 35 to 40 feet tall and made out of steel. “It is more of a high school gymnasium-type of structure than a traditional church building with a steeple,” he said.

“In the middle of the student service, the floor gave way, causing about 70 students to fall,” Davis said
“It's got to be said that no one was seriously injured, no one was trapped,” the pastor said. “God's hand was certainly taking care of the kids who were in that building.”

Davis said there was no immediate cause for the accident but he assumed officials will want to investigate.

“Everybody is fine and everyone who was treated has been released,” he said. “No one was injured or even needed to be admitted to a hospital.

Students said the collapse started with a rumble in the building. Tori Hodge, 18, told the Chronicle newspaper there was a brief scene of panic before calmness took hold.

“We heard a huge rumble and the floor collapsed and people collapsed with it,” she said. “Everybody heard it. The floor started crumbling and waving. People started falling through the ceiling, just like you'd see in a movie.”

Youths, many between 7th and 12th grade, fell about 12 feet to the floor below.

Myrick is in southeastern Mississippi about 90 miles south of Jackson and 90 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Davis said.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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