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Harrowing tale of teen party gone wrong

Two nights of increasingly chaotic partying came to a crashing halt Sunday morning when the second-floor deck of a Russian River vacation rental house collapsed under the weight of scores of young people dancing.

"There were just so many people, it was just crazy. Wall-to-wall people," said Stefanie Douglass, 18, of Santa Rosa, who said she had just stepped off the deck when it broke in two.

Though authorities said they were unaware of serious injuries, rumors were flying Monday among those who had attended the event — "I heard someone broke their neck," said Douglass — and county officials are investigating whether the deck met construction codes.

"It was very dangerous to look back on," said Tabatha Deas, 18, of Santa Rosa, one of several who described a scene of drug- and alcohol-fueled revelry that culminated in near disaster.

"It was pretty gnarly," said Sean Thompson, 21, of Graton, one of hundreds of people at the Saturday night party on Sweetwater Springs Road, near Armstrong Redwoods State Preserve.

He said he was under the deck — which also held a disc jockey station — when he saw it starting to buckle overhead.

"There was hella people underneath it, and I was like telling everyone get the hell outta here — this thing's going to go," Thompson said.

He said he was sprinting to warn the crowd of as many as 100 people dancing on the deck above when it collapsed.

Jenny Lopes, 18, of Santa Rosa, was on the deck.

"We were all just dancing and I just heard screaming and then I looked over and I was falling," she said. "And then half of it broke and everybody slid to the ground."


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