Robert Morris golf dome collapses in storm
By Michael Hasch and Bobby Cherry
Published: Friday, June 1, 2012, 6:10 p.m.
As many as 50 people escaped injury this afternoon when the inflatable dome of the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center collapsed during a storm.
"The incident happened within about 30 seconds," said Christian Ricketts, 23, of Moon, who was playing golf inside the dome with his brother. "There was shaking and all of a sudden it stopped and the dome started to fall."
No one was trapped, but paramedics checked one woman after the collapse about 4:15 p.m. at the complex on Neville Island, Allegheny County emergency dispatchers said.
Everyone was able to evacuate safely because the dome "came down very slowly," said Kyle Fisher, vice president of public relations at Robert Morris.
Fisher said there were about 10 people inside the dome at the time. Estimates of those inside ranged from "10 to 20" to "40 to 50."
"I was practicing inside the sand bunker inside the bubble," said Kendall Allen, 18, a Shadyside Academy High School senior. "I heard the rain pounding out the bubble. I looked outside and it was getting kinda windy."
Allen, who will attend Ohio State University on a golf scholarship in the fall, resumed practice.
"The bubble started swaying side to side, nothing really out of the ordinary, and then I saw the bubble tear open the side," Allen said. "That was the only time I got scared, when the side tore open.
"I tried to remain calm and get my stuff out. I grabbed my jacket and clubs and ran to the front door. I was one of the last people to make it out without having to crawl. I got through the revolving door when I saw the bubble collapse behind me. I'm so happy no one got hurt."
"I talked to some people who gathered outside the bubble who told me they physically had to craw out of the bubble to get out."
Fisher said there were tears in the dome which houses a driving range for golfers.
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