RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – While it had nothing to do with the earthquake, a floor collapse in Richmond is still making headlines. The kitchen of a home on Idlewood Avenue buckled early Tuesday morning at a house party. No one was seriously injured but the homeowner was left with tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
The house was being rented by three VCU students who decided to throw a costly back to school bash. There were estimates of a hundred people in and around the house with anywhere from 20 to 30 piled into a kitchen. City building inspectors tell me the floor joints just gave way because of the heavy load and the jumping and dancing.
It's the cups overturned on the fence, the unmade drinks in the front yard. Or maybe it's the thought someone went running so fast, they left behind a Chuck Taylor. Either way, its clear there was quite a party at 2025 Idlewood Avenue Monday night.
"A lot of people were outside but it's probably about 20 in the living room, 20 or 30 in the kitchen area," said renter Chris Cochran.
And that's where this party fell through...about 4 or 5 feet into a small basement. Fellow renter, Meddy Gabriel got there 10 minutes before the collapse, he hadn't even moved in yet.
"Right when I got in the house I heard a big like shotgun noise. And I saw big fumes of dust and people crawling out the kitchen area," he said.
City building inspectors spent all Tuesday morning figuring out what went wrong. Even cutting open the basement lock to see the damage from underneath.
We also did some digging and found out the house was built in 1920. The owner, Mohsen Zarie bought in 2009 and even renovated it. He said he was too upset to go on camera, but did tell us he was glad no one was hurt.
The three renters are all students. Two of them had moved in two weeks ago.
"I'm just wondering where I'm going to live now. So, it's the only thing I'm thinking about," said Meddy.
City buildings inspectors will not be handing out any citations. They say it was just a case of too many cooks in this particular kitchen.
It's not the first collapse we've seen involving rental properties in the city. In 2008, a deck gave way on Cary Street during a house party. 20 people including 11 VCU students were seriously injured in that fall.
The Idlewood incident left a handful of people with scrapes and bruises.
"Luckily we don't have a basement because that would have been deadly," Meddy said.
Experts tell us, if his lease was clear, the landlord could sue his tenants if he thought it was worth it. Otherwise this could be an expensive lesson in carefully choosing your renters.
City inspectors say the building is condemned until the homeowner hires a contractor to fix the floor. The damage is estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.