JONES COUNTY -- A floor collapse at a local church sends several people attending a worship service to the hospital.
The accident happened shortly after 7 Wednesday night at Freedom Baptist Church in the Myrick community. About 80 youth, grades 7 through 12, and an unknown number of adults and college students were in the building.
They were worshiping on the second story when the floor fell in beneath them. They dropped about 12 feet.
A total of 35 youth were injured. 19 were triaged on the scene, and 16 were taken to South Central Regional Medical Center. One girl was flown to Forrest General Hospital but only because there was not enough ground transportation available.
The church's senior pastor, Tommy Davis, believes a lesson can be learned from what happened.
He said there was no prior indication that this would happen.
"It's a wonderful facility," Davis said. "It's got children and young people in it every Wednesday night. It's filled with adults on Sunday morning."
The Family Life Center is less than 12 years old, and Davis guarantees it will be rebuilt as soon as possible.
"It's such a valuable tool for our ministry here," Davis said. "We have a large and very impactful student ministry, and they need a place where they can come and worship together, so we're going to provide for them."
If it had to happen somewhere, he said he's glad it happened here.
"Because this community, this congregation, that youth group is so close that this will only make them stronger and bring them closer," Davis said.
Each person who went to the hospital was released before midnight. He sees this as an opportunity to share Jesus.
"It's an opportunity to share how God's grace and His mercy was able to be shown to these young people," Davis said.
He is grateful for the help from all of the first responders.
"I want to thank them for doing such a fantastic job," Davis said. "The community came out and supported us with a lot of love and a lot of prayers during those hours."
Sheriff Alex Hodge shared his support for the church in a statement released Thursday.
"Given the amount of damage and number of youth involved, it is a miracle that no one was killed or more seriously injured in the incident. God was certainly watching over these Freedom Baptist Church youth, and I have no doubt that this encounter will certainly draw them closer as a Youth Group."
3221 South Evans Street
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