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Over 50 Injured at N.J. Nightclub

November 26, 2001

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ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. (AP) _ A temporary dance floor over a swimming pool at a nightclub gave way early Sunday, injuring more than 50 people who plunged into the water, authorities said.

About 35 people were taken to hospitals by ambulance after the dance floor collapsed about 2:15 a.m at the Metro Lounge, Police Chief Richard Zavinsky said. Another 20 went to hospitals on their own.

Most had cuts, sprains or broken bones, Zavinsky said.

``Most of the injuries appear to be minor to moderate,″ he said. ``There are a few head injuries. Some people were knocked unconscious.″

Police are investigating whether the party violated building codes or occupancy limits, Zavinsky said.

The temporary floor was made of plywood and plexiglass with steel framework. It covered an indoor in-ground pool, Fire Chief Sal Antista said.

It was unclear how many people were on dance floor when it collapsed. Zavinsky said more than 500 people attended the party, which began at 10 p.m. Saturday. The event was billed as a celebration for people with the astrological signs Scorpio and Sagittarius

A man said the floor gave way when a large number of people got up to dance all at once.

``A song came on, and everybody got on the floor and started dancing,″ said Joseph Williams, 37. ``I was in the middle of the crack. All you could hear was like ice cracking, like you when you pour hot water on ice.″

After the collapse, he said, some people panicked and were hyperventilating and fainting.

``People got out and started saving people who were in the water,″ Williams said. ``There were four people down, stretchered out in a neck brace, stuff like that. I believe a young man had CPR done on him. I saw one lady with a deep gash on her leg.″

A message left with Metro Lounge was not returned.

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