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Ceiling collapse injures 12 in building near Seneca, Pawnee

Wichita police officers and a Westar Energy employee are at the scene of a ceiling collapse in the 1300 block of West May, just west of Seneca, on Wednesday night.
Wichita police officers and a Westar Energy employee are at the scene of a ceiling collapse in the 1300 block of West May, just west of Seneca, on Wednesday night. The Wichita Eagle

Twelve people sustained minor injuries after a section of ceiling collapsed in the DCCCA’s Women’s Recovery Center near May and Seneca streets late Wednesday evening.

The building has two layers of ceiling – a plaster layer closest to the roof and a drop ceiling about 4 feet below the plaster section.

Wichita Fire Battalion Chief Tom Carney said water had leaked through the roof and accumulated enough to cause a 15-by-30-foot section of the plaster to collapse through the drop-down ceiling into the room below, where as many as 25 people had gathered, shortly after 9:30 p.m.

“That’s bigger than the average living room,” Carney said.

A Sedgwick County dispatcher said 12 people sustained minor injuries as a result of the falling plaster – mostly cuts, scrapes and bruises. Six were transported to local hospitals, the dispatcher said.

The roof is still intact, Carney said.

Dormitories inside the building were not affected by the collapse, so residents will not have to be relocated, he said.

Westar Energy had shut off power to the building by 10:30 p.m.

Maintenance crews were at the building Wednesday night and will do an assessment of the damage Thursday morning, Carney said.

According to its website, the Women’s Recovery Center offers services to help women struggling with substance addiction. It provides temporary housing for women as they receive treatment, according to the website.

Reach Matt Riedl at 316-268-6660 or mriedl@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RiedlMatt

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