URI students cited after deck collapses at house party

(WPRI)

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Party guests were in shock Saturday afternoon after a deck collapsed during a house party on Sakonnet Boulevard.

According to a report from Narragansett police, an officer responded to the house just before 5 p.m. for a noise complaint. When the officer arrived on scene, he heard yelling and screaming coming from inside the home and people fleeing the area from the front door and both sides of the house.

The officer reported that when he approached the front of the house, he saw several people laying on the ground crying with others huddled around them. He was then approached by one of the renters of the home, later identified as Matthew Grassi, who said the deck had collapsed.

“We need help, we need help, our deck just collapsed and several people are injured,” Grassi said to the officer.

When the officer walked around the house and into the backyard, he saw the deck had collapsed from a height of approximately 7 feet to the ground. He reported that a female was surrounded by people underneath where the deck had collapsed. The officer discovered she had fallen approximately 12 feet onto a set of concrete stairs leading to the basement of the home.

The report said she was transported to South County Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The officer said others who fell from the deck only suffered minor scrapes and contusions and declined medical attention.

According to the police report, the officer reminded Grassi to clear the rest of the party guests from the home. The officer estimated that upon his arrival there were around 150 people at the party.

While some guests were leaving, the officer reported seeing a female with an open bottle of wine. According to the report, when he asked her what her age was she laughed. When he escorted her to his police cruiser he was able to confirm she was 19 years old. The officer then discarded the wine and cited the female, identified as Rachel Blauvelt, with possession of alcohol as a minor.

Since Blauvelt was attending a house party while in possession of the alcohol, Grassi and the other renters, identified as Gorge Liapes, Trevor Casellini and Cesar Coelho were cited as social hosts where a minor was in possession of alcohol. According to the Good 5 Cent Cigar, the renters are University of Rhode Island (URI) students.

The report said a Narragansett Building Inspector was contacted to assess the property damage.

One officer reported that an Orange Nuisance Warning Notice was posted on the home.