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Eight Hurt When Roof Collapses Into YMCA Pool

September 19, 1989

BOSTON (AP) _ A roof collapsed without warning into a YMCA swimming pool Monday, injuring nine young children in a swimming class and a lifeguard, police said.

Parents were watching the swimming class when cement chunks and beams fell into the water in the shallow end of the pool at West Roxbury-Roslind ale YMCA.

″We were looking through a picture window down the other end, and then the whole roof over the shallow end just came down in one piece,″ said John Welch, whose son, Michael, was not injured in the accident.

Three boys, all 4-year-olds, were taken to Children’s Hospital, where two were treated and released and the third was admitted in serious condition, said hospital spokeswoman Kristi Kienholz. A spokeswoman for Faulkner Hospital said a 3 1/2 -year-old child and a 4-year-old were in fair and stable condition with cuts and other injuries. The boys’ instructor, 18-year-old David Bortolotto, was admitted with head injuries and cuts. Four other children were treated but not hospitalized.

Bortolotto was hit by falling debris but pulled four children from the water. Another instructor pulled the other three boys out.

Police Superintendent Gerard McHale called Bortolotto ″a real superstar. He collapsed after he got the kids out.″

No noise preceded the roof’s collapse, said YMCA manager Bill Selafani. ″We had no reason to believe we would have any problem with the roof.″

The cause of the collapse was being investigated, authorities said.

″Why it collapsed, I don’t know,″ said Fire Capt. Matthew Corbett. ″There’s a big hole to the sky. The kids were very lucky.″

A 20-by-15-foot section of roof fell, Corbett said.

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