3 students injured in prof's porch collapse

Three undergraduates were among those injured Saturday when a porch at a professor’s house at 9 Brynhurst Ct. in Durham collapsed.

Students said about 10 to 12 people were standing on the second-story porch at an Easter party thrown by Pamela Maxson, a medical psychiatry instructor, when it fell. Sophomores Evan Sherman and Emily Bruckner and senior Adam Katz, as well as about seven others, were treated at Duke University Hospital. No one was fatally injured, students said, but many people broke bones and sustained cuts, scrapes and whiplash.

Students said Sunday they did not know why the porch pulled away from the house and collapsed, but they guessed it had exceeded its weight limit.

“It gave no warning. It just kind of happened,” Sherman said. “One second we were watching the Easter egg hunt, and then somebody screamed.”

No one was under the balcony when it fell, but some people dropped about 15 feet to the ground.

Durham Emergency Medical Services responded to a call Saturday when a deck collapsed, but Barbara Parson, a shift supervisor for Durham County 911, said she was unable to give any further details.

A spokesperson for Durham Police Department said Sunday it was “not a police matter” and referred calls to the Durham Fire Department. Officials from the Fire Department could not be reached Sunday afternoon.

A woman who answered the phone at Maxson’s house would not comment, and the condition of most people involved is unknown.

“When it happened, everybody did what they needed to do,” Bruckner said. “It’s one of those things where you think you’d have no idea what to do. But when it happens, it’s just gut instinct.”


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