Woman Injured at Westgate Mall Ceiling Collapse Shares her Story - WSPA.com

Woman Injured at Westgate Mall Ceiling Collapse Shares her Story

Posted: Updated: March 22, 2013 03:40 PM
A section of the ceiling at Westgate Mall collapsed and injured a person. Photo courtesy Alecia Pearson A section of the ceiling at Westgate Mall collapsed and injured a person. Photo courtesy Alecia Pearson
Spartanburg, SC -

Ira Robinson was shopping at JCPenney as she'd done countless times before Friday, but what happened during her mall visit, she said, was unexpected.

Spartanburg City Fire Marshal Bill Hall said that a section for a concrete wall above the ceiling in JC Penney's collapsed and damaged a portion of the ceiling tile. He said that about 10-15 concrete blocks fell and caused the tile to hit a shopper.

Hall said that the shopper was transported to Spartanburg Regional Hospital. Hall said that the concrete blocks weighed between 30-40 pounds each.

Robinson said she was at the store using a coupon for $10 off and found three dresses she wanted to buy. She said she went to the jewelry section to pick our some pearls for her mother-in-law when she felt something fall on her.

"Someone was looking at the pearls so I waited until they left and then when I looked at them, that's when the whole ceiling came down tumbling on me. There were bricks, lights, all that stuff came down and knocked me down on the floor on my butt," she said.

A spokesman for JC Penney said that they are currently investigating the incident. Robinson said the store manager rushed to her side and someone found the first aid kit. Robinson said she stayed by her side and found something cold to put on her wound until EMS arrived.

The mall was never evacuated Friday afternoon and it didn't close.

A portion of this JC Penney was barricaded and will remain closed until an investigation is completed according to Hall. "There was sheet rock all over the floor and I looked up and there was a hole about the size of a car," witness Morgan Cox said.

"I heard a big loud crash and I was standing there and I said momma I think somebody is screaming," shopper Carolyn Blackwell said.

Travis Pearson heard screams and ran to help the injured woman.

"Her head was bleeding and her shoulder was hurt and I was trying to clear out a space for her to lay down," Pearson said.

7 On Your Side asked mall management what would cause those blocks to fall, they don't have an answer yet. The fire marshal said there were no visible cracks or structural misuse when he responded to the scene. The building is subject to inspections, Hall said inspections happen in an 18-month cycle.

The last inspection on this store happened in September 2011.

"I don't know if there's anyway they could prevent that, it just seems like a crazy freak accident," Cox said.

A representative for the owner of this mall said there are structural engineers as well as operations staff looking into that hole in the ceiling. 

Robinson's mother-in-law was concerned because she said the store did not check in with Ira to see if she was ok. Robinson's husband said he was at work and told his supervisor there was an emergency with his wife and he had to leave. He said he had to help his wife when she was in the hospital and he will help her recover because he wants to keep his marriage vows he said.

"In sickness and health I'll be with her," he said.

Robinson said she had surgery on her neck a week and a half ago and will require more operation on her shoulder in the near future. She said she had two staples put in her head and is worried she cannot go back to work. Robinson said she works in a warehouse where she needs to lift boxes often.

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