The sound of constant jumping from the apartment directly above her had become a grim routine for sophomore Carley Carroll, long before the disastrous events of the University of North Texas homecoming game weekend.
“Every weekend a different party,” the student told CBS-11. And during some of those parties, Carroll would watch her ceiling go up and down like a trampoline. Sometimes she would even call police in Denton, Tex., to complain — half-worried that it might collapse.
And yet, Carroll said, “It’s one of those things you don’t think is actually going to happen.”
Then, on Saturday, the North Texas Mean Green walloped the University of Texas at El Paso 45-10 in the big game, and Carroll’s upstairs neighbors threw a party to remember.
Police estimated that 100 people crammed into the third-story apartment above her that night — which like every unit in the complex was occupied by college students.
As Dayo Oyenuga carried his DJ equipment in, he told CBS-11, he felt the floor sink beneath him.
As Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, Oyenuga’s music thumped and people filled nearly every square inch of the apartment, spilling out onto the balcony in an overflow column.
Abiola Busari, a junior who had thrown the party, later admitted to reporters that it had gotten out of hand. People he didn’t know were showing up.
“I could feel the floor starting to shake,” he told WFAA. “I yelled like, yo, people need to leave.”
But the people wanted to dance.
They wanted to jump.
Thousands of pounds of humanity, bouncing up and down upon the thin layer of privacy that was Busari’s floor and Carroll’s ceiling — which shook so badly that she and her roommates had fled the building by 1:30 a.m., when the DJ upstairs put on “What” by Playboi Carti.
“What, what, what, what,” went the lyrics.
Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, went the party.
And then “the floor went skrra pap ka ka ka,” as one observer wrote.
— ✨peaches✨ (@ja_rene_) November 12, 2017
At that moment DeeJay Priestly, 22, watched his partner Davion Keys simply disappear into hardwood. “One moment he was there, then he wasn’t,” he told the Houston Chronicle.
A bottle of Tower vodka crashed down into Carroll’s empty apartment. It was followed by furniture, structural supports, Davion Keys, Abiola Busari and at least half a dozen others.
As the hole widened, dancing turned to screaming. Some ended up stranded on a six-inch strip of floor above the chasm, clinging to the wall like movie characters when they end up stuck outside a skyscraper.
A video showed a dancer trying to flee the growing hole. As a viewer noted, she was soon forced to “accept her fate and grab her hair.”
Down she went. Down they all went. People on top of people, drenched in a geyser of pipe water and covered in the remains of a party. Some tried to climb back up on broken beams as those on the high ground stared in awe.
um what did i just experience pic.twitter.com/cQLaRYXb62
— Bianca Iwunze (@biancaiwunze) November 12, 2017
When firefighters got to the building, CBS-11 reported, “partygoers were dangling between floors.”
And yet somehow, no one suffered injuries worse than a few cuts and bruises.
Those downstairs were not so lucky.
Carroll and her roommates had just reached the police station to report the rampant party, she told NBC-DFW, when 911 calls started coming in from her building
“Your apartment’s destroyed,” an officer told her. She lost nearly all her belongings, and in fact the entire building was evacuated, leaving nearly 50 students homeless by the time class resumed Monday morning.
Investigators were looking into the cause of the collapse by then.
One early theory seems quite plausible, as CBS-11 reported: