WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 02, 2011, 07:11 PM

West Acres offers apology, lunch to students involved in riser collapse

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Students at Fargo's Carl Ben Eielson were just trying their best to get everyone in the Christmas Spirit.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Students at Fargo's Carl Ben Eielson were just trying their best to get everyone in the Christmas Spirit. Sure they sounded good, but it is what happened to the risers they were standing on that has everyone talking. Those risers collapsed. No one was injured, but today that choir concert at West Acres Mall is all over the internet.

Like nearly a hundred other local choir groups, the middle school students from Carl Ben came to West Acres, to spread a little Christmas Cheer. But just as they were singing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart" the holiday concert lost its bottom. The three levels of steps on the risers collapsed.

Jacob Mogck – Choir Member: “I got up and wondered what the heck just happened.”

Students didn't know whether to scream, laugh or cry.

Kaycee Froysland – Choir Member: “And I was like singing and wondered what just happened but I was like, ‘Mom I am okay.’”

Jacob Mogck: “Some of the kids fell face first, but others fell this way.”

A few bumps and bruises, but nothing serious.

Kaycee: “I fell on my butt.”

Renae Hansen – Choir Teacher: “When it happened I was shocked, then oh my goodness are they okay.”

Parents and grandparents were perhaps more shaken.

Linda Froysland – Mom of Student: “Then I dropped the camera and said, what the heck.”

But the middle school students brushed the dust off, and sore bottoms and all, finished the concert.

They were resilient; they got up and did a great job. But just hours after the riser collapse, the students were back at West Acres, not for another concert, but an apology and lunch on the house. This afternoon, West Acres welcomed the middle school students back to the shopping center.

Rusty Papachek – West Acres: “This is the first time it has happened.”

They were assured new risers were already on the way.

Rusty Papacheck: “For us safety is primary.”

And as a way to say thank you, the mall treated the students to food court meal. And no sign of Grinch here, the students decided the change left over, would all to the Red Kettle and the Salvation Army. The students continued with their concerts today at retirement homes around Fargo-Moorhead.