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House near Ohio State has no additional damage after collapsed roof injures 14 people

Debris from a collapsed front porch roof is fenced off in front of a home on East 13th Avenue in Columbus. The roof collapsed Saturday, sending 14 people to the hospital.
Nick Houser
Debris from a collapsed front porch roof is fenced off in front of a home on East 13th Avenue in Columbus. The roof collapsed Saturday, sending 14 people to the hospital.

City officials said the roof collapsed because too many people stood on top of it, and there is little that can be done to discourage this behavior.

Debris from a front porch roof collapse on Saturday is still strewn about the front yard of a home on 13th Avenue in Columbus near the campus of The Ohio State University.

The roof collapsed after city officials said several people stood on it during a house party. The weight of the people caused the awning to fall, injuring 34 people and sending 14 of them to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services Deputy Director Anthony Celebrezze said the city inspected the property and found there was no additional structural damage to the home, but it still needs to check if the porch is stable underneath the debris from the roof.

A orange neon sign hangs in the window reading "DANGER DO NOT ENTER UNSAFE TO OCCUPY." The front of the house and the debris from the collapse and the party is surrounded by orange plastic fencing.

The eight-bedroom home was built in 1910, according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office. The property is owned by the Alpha Chapter of the Delta Theta Sigma fraternity. The fraternity could not be reached for comment.

The property has had four different citations from Celebrezze's department since the start of 2022. All four were for solid waste or weeds in the home's yard and none were associated with the structure of the building itself.

Celebrezze said there are no open or active cases, but said the city does not regularly inspect rental properties or homes except at the request of landlords and homeowners.

He said there is little to do to discourage this behavior within city code and that it is up to landlords and homeowners to police the actions of their tenants.

Celebrezze said he is grateful no one was killed in the roof collapse and hopes those injured recover.

Ohio State University spokesperson Benjamin Johnson said in a statement the university is monitoring this situation closely and assisting first responders in any way possible. He said Ohio State Office of Student Life personnel are assisting students as needed and will assess any housing needs and make sure students have the support they need.

"Our thoughts are with the individuals who were present and their friends and family," Johnson said.

Johnson did not address any questions about whether the university, through its Greek life or off-campus departments, will do anything to discourage the behavior that led to this collapse.

The Ohio State University Office of Student Life holds a semi-monthly roundtable on off-campus and commuter student issues, providing property owners and managers the opportunity to network with colleagues, while also engaging in important discussions around several timely topic areas.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at the Ohio Union Cartoon Room at 12:30 p.m. The roof collapse may be discussed at the meeting.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.