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Servite High Stage Collapse Investigated By Anaheim Fire Marshal, Diocese Of Orange

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ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — The collapse of a wooden stage that injured at least 25 students at Servite High School in Anaheim will be investigated by the Diocese of Orange and the city’s fire marshal.

Police say their preliminary findings were that too much weight led to the collapse of the stage just before 10 p.m. Saturday, which caused moderate injuries to at least 25 students.

An estimated 250 girls from Rosary High, who were performing their school’s annual Red and Gold Rally in the theater at the boy’s high school at 1952 West La Palma Ave., were on the stage when it gave way. The most serious injuries appeared to be broken bones and cuts, firefighters said.

Video posted on YouTube shows dozens of female students on the stage, first swaying from side to side, then jumping up and down before the front panels of the stage collapsed. The video also showed members of the audience shouting and jumping up to help the students who went through the stage.

“Jeff Lutz, our city’s fire marshal, is taking the lead in investigating what caused the collapse, which at this point looks like too many students and too much weight on the platform stage,” Anaheim police Lt. Tim Schmidt said. The fire marshal’s office will also be assisted by the city’s planning and building department in the inquiry.

Schmidt also said the private high school’s platform stage was previously permitted for use, but now the investigating agencies will be rechecking that permit to see if it included a weight restriction or a limit as to the number of people who could safely be on the stage at one time.

An internal investigation was also underway, according to a statement by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange posted on the Rosary High School website.

Rosary is an all-girls Catholic high school in Fullerton that was founded in 1965. It utilizes the theater of the all-boys Servite High School for its annual Red and Gold event, according to Rosary’s website.

Rosary High students and their families gathered for prayers at Rosary’s Assembly Hall at 3:30 p.m. Sunday after families picked up personal items left behind at Servite.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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