Investigation reveals flaw in construction of stage that collapsed at Anaheim high school

Students from Fullerton's Rosary High School perform at Servite High School, just before the stage collapsed, injuring at least 25.
Students from Fullerton's Rosary High School perform at Servite High School, just before the stage collapsed, injuring at least 25.

More than two dozen students were injured when the extended portion of a stage collapsed during a rally over the weekend at an Anaheim high school, and now the school has released more information about the collapse.
Officials at Servite High School, a private Catholic school, say they brought in a forensic engineer to investigate. That investigation revealed a flaw in the construction of the stage apron, which covers the orchestra pit.

RELATED: At least 25 injured after stage collapses during rally at Servite High

The principal of Servite says in a statement on the school's website that the apron was added in the early 1980s, but that the school has not found any record of a permit. 
At least 25 students suffered minor to moderate injuries.

Watch video of the stage collapse:

Video: Stage collapses at Servite High

Read the full statement from Servite High School below:

Dear Servite Families,

The purpose of this message is to present information about the unfortunate Servite theater incident, which occurred on March 8. Since the incident, our primary focus has been on Rosary students, especially those who were injured, and on those audience members who witnessed the incident.

We deeply appreciate your trust and patience as we moved through the investigative process to determine why this incident occurred.

What happened?

On March 8, Rosary students were performing their 44th Annual Red & Gold competition. During the finale, the apron covering the orchestra pit at the front of the stage failed and collapsed injuring a number of students. The immediate medical response from both schools and emergency personnel ensured the well being of all.

How We Responded

Immediately, we offered our full support to Rosary students, families, administration, faculty and staff.

We launched an internal investigation in conjunction with the Anaheim Fire Department, and the Anaheim Planning and Building Department. We brought in a forensic structural engineer (Ficcadenti Waggoner and Castle) to assess the damage and determine the cause of the failure.

The investigation revealed a flaw in the construction of the apron covering the orchestra pit. The apron was not part of the original theater construction and was added sometime in the early 1980's. We have not found a record of an apron building permit.

Our Next Steps

We will continue to provide assistance, support and prayers for the students, families and staff of Rosary High School.

We will keep evaluating, modernizing and upgrading our facilities to ensure the safety of our students and community.

We are submitting plans for a new, re-engineered stage apron to the City of Anaheim Planning and Building Department.

We will continue to emphasize safety as our #1 priority.

Thank You

Our thanks to the Rosary community, parents and school staff for their teamwork, trust and support throughout this process. Thank you to the Anaheim police and fire departments, and local hospitals for their quick and professional response. We are very grateful.

We have received messages from Servite families, alumni and friends from around the world. Thank you for your support.

Please continue to pray with us for the young women of Rosary and for all those who witnessed this unfortunate incident.

In Christ,

Peter S. Bowen