NEGRIL, Jamaica – Patrons at the Dream Weekend party at The Jungle nightclub in the western Jamaica town of Negril had a nightmarish experience Sunday morning when a dance-crazy throng caused a roof to collapse, injuring more than a dozen persons.
The Accident and Emergency Department at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital was kept busy up to late Sunday morning, as the injured were ushered in for treatment. At least four persons were carried in by medical technicians assigned to the Negril Fire Department Emergency Medical Services ambulance, while others were brought by taxi or chartered vehicle.
Emergency personnel had reported early Sunday morning that about 20 patrons had been injured at the club but that figure could not be confirmed. However, The Gleaner was able to ascertain the names of 10 of the injured, two of whom were admitted.
They are Kerry-Gaye Blackwood, 23, of Montego Bay, St James; Kenya Hall, 23, of Petersfield, Westmoreland; Adrian Reid, 25, of Connecticut, USA; Sheena Gordon, 20, of Sandy Bay, Hanover; Andrew Rhoden, 19, of Goodens River, Savanna-la-Mar; Sandra Renford, 27, and her three nieces, Nicosha Spence, 15; Minda Simpson, 21; Kimesha Tapper, 15, all of Clarendon and Llandilo, Savanna-la-Mar addresses; Ruel McGregor, about 15, of Whithorn, Westmoreland.
Persons close to the investigations said at least four other injured persons were taken to the hospital.
“(Deejay Vybz) Kartel was performing onstage and whole heap a people climb up pon di roof to watch di show. Some of the women dem even tek off dem shoes fi grip dem foot properly pon di roof,” said patron Sandra Renford.
“Di workers warn dem and ask di people to come off di roof, but dem cuss off di workers,” she said.
Renford and her nieces, who were among a packed crowd on the lower floor, said they heard cracking sounds as if the roof was going to give way. Just as they were about to move, the roof came crashing down on top of scores of patrons.
“We were so frightened and scared. We had no idea what was happening, as we tried to crawl from beneath the rubble,” another injured patron remarked.
Richard Wallace, director of The Jungle nightclub, said about 40 patrons climbed over barriers on to the canopy without permission and were dancing on the roof. He said his staff repeatedly asked them to get off the roof, but they were verbally abused.
“The staff went for police assistance and while the officers were heading towards the area, the roof collapsed before they could get there,” said Wallace, who confirmed that the building was insured.
He expressed regret at the situation and sympathised with the injured, but blamed the collapse on irresponsible behaviour.
“I can’t believe that people could act so foolish and stubborn,” he said.