Rule No. 1 of going to college house parties: Be careful on decks, balconies, elevated porches and rooftops. Don’t be the 50th person to step onto a rickety wooden deck. Don’t sit on railings. And don’t jump off of anything.
Such places should be safe, but each year many students are injured in high places.
At least three students were sitting on the railing of an elevated balcony at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house at the University of Virginia when the railing collapsed at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Daily Progress newspaper. Two of the three men fell about 17 feet to a paved driveway and were rushed to the hospital.
Both of the injured students are from Ashburn. Joseph A. Gabro, 20, is a student at James Madison University and remained hospitalized in fair condition Wednesday afternoon, according to the U-Va. Medical Center. Corey P. Milner, 18, is a U-Va. student, has been discharged from the hospital.
The Hook, an alternative weekly in Charlottesville, reported that this isn’t the first time the porch’s railing has collapsed. On April 23, 2005, an adjacent stretch of railing gave way, and a 17-year-old girl was injured. After that incident, the Hook reported, city officials demanded the fraternity rebuild the railings using steel brackets.
Earlier this month, at least four Castleton State College of Vermont students were injured when a deck at an off-campus house collapsed. The same thing happened last May at a house party near Washington and Lee University, injuring about 30 students.