Federal investigation of ECU bleacher mishap

September 10, 2010 3:02:32 PM PDT
A federal investigation is underway at East Carolina University after a section of bleacher seating gave way during a game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium last weekend.

Friday, investigators with the Consumer Product Safety Commission were in Greenville to look at the seats.

They wouldn't say much about what brought them to the campus - only that they are looking for 'structural defects' that could have led to half a dozen students getting hurt at the stadium fans affectionately call the "Boneyard."

"A couple of my friends, their actual bleacher broke, and one of my friends twisted her ankle but she's okay," said ECU sophomore Tori Pinchuk.

University and state officials have been looking into the incident since it happened.

Fans who spoke with ABC11 wondered if the installation of the seating played a role.

"The bleachers were, I guess they were rushed in to get all the seatings and stuff," said ECU junior Cody Huebenthal.

"It's kind of scary. I would think they would have had a little bit more precaution about putting it up and stuff like that," offered ECU fan Kari Davis.

But state officials say they believe the collapse was not construction related. Either way, university officials say changes will be made.

"We will, after this game, replace the bleachers on the horizontal services of the risers as opposed to the vertical services where they were initially attached. And we'll have four weeks to get that done, so it won't be a rush job before the next home game," explained John Durham with the university.

ABC11 asked school officials why the bleachers weren't mounted to the horizontal part of the risers to begin with. They said they didn't know.

And when we asked to talk with the officials investigating the collapse on site, an athletic department official told us the stadium had closed and escorted us off the property.

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