Dunlap High School’s Winter Dance didn’t last long on Friday evening at Trailside Event Center in Peoria Heights. Students having fun, dancing, jumping, and doing what’re they’re supposed to ended up being the reason school officials had to shut it down. About 45 minutes into the dance there were around 100 students jumping simultaneously in the middle of the dance floor. Suddenly, they heard a loud crack. Students said they had felt flexibility in the dance floor, but building employees said that type of thing is usual.
School resource officer Nick Butterfield was alarmed at the loud crack and wanted to inspect the floor. He went to the first floor and looked up and saw several joist were fractured. School principal Scott Adreon commended Butterfield for his quick action to evacuate the dance floor. “He knew immediately he needed to get the kids off the floor. Had they continued who knows what could’ve happened,” explained Adreon.
Jeff Huebner owns the building that also houses Trefzger’s Bakery as well as several other businesses. He said prior to opening the even center they reinforced the floors. But stress from all the jumping strained the floor joist. He said the students, “Pretty much created a trampoline effect of the floor. This was just a weak spot and everybody dancing together caused a couple of the floor joist to crack.”
Trefzger’s Bakery is located directly beneath the dance floor. The bakery has been closed since a fire about a week ago. Peoria Heights Fire Chief Greg Walters said the fire caused smoke and water damage due to the sprinkler system, but no structure damage. Chief said the fire did not contribute to the weakened floor joist.
Huebner said they had a structural engineer look at the floor on Saturday and it should be fixed in a couple days.