Seven people were admitted to a local hospital on Saturday, January 7, after the roof of a geothermal pool collapsed at Givens Hot Springs in Owyhee County, Idaho. The Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office reported that there was no snow in the pool area when the incident occurred around 1:45 p.m. m., with several people present. They suspect that the roof might have collapsed due to structural problems.
According to the county sheriff’s report, the ground ambulance present at the pool initially transported six people to local hospitals. Later, another person was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle.
The injured ranged from nine to 70 years of age, and suffered injuries to the arms, legs, shoulders and head, as well as lacerations. However, all seven were still conscious and in stable condition when they were admitted to the hospital.
According to witnesses, between 15 and 20 bathers were in the Givens Hot Springs pool when the roof fell on them Saturday. Some people, who got out of the pool before the accident, heard the loud crashing sound.
Given Hot Springs is a privately owned recreational facility, consisting of an indoor geothermal pool, event center, and campground located about a half-hour drive from Boise.
After the collapse on Saturday, their website stated:
“Due to a structural problem, we are closed at the moment. Please check back on this site for future updates. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Eyewitnesses and survivors describe the events that took place at Givens Hot Springs
Some families who walked out of the accident in the Givens Hot Springs safe or suffered minor injuries spoke out about the incident. A couple, Nicole Caffrey and Derrick Gullion, were at the scene with their 2-year-old daughter. Gullion said that when they were swimming in the pool, they began to notice small pieces of wood in the water. So, they were taking them out.
When they looked up at the ceiling, all the ceiling beams seemed to be about to disintegrate and crumble. Pieces of the ceiling kept falling and the couple felt unsafe. So they got out of the pool, trusting their instincts. Caffrey and Gullion heard the ceiling break while in the locker room.
According to KTVB7, Caffrey said:
“It literally felt like an earthquake right behind my back. I just, I just rambled on, and all I could think about was all the people in the water, and [Gullion] and my daughter.”
The couple stated that they and their daughter were unharmed. They blindfolded her little girl so she wouldn’t be traumatized by witnessing the collapse.
Gullion shared that his first instinct was to grab his daughter and take the family to safety. He added:
“But what I saw when it all came crashing down is pretty much everyone disappeared under the rubble. Obviously there were a lot of people screaming and crawling everywhere. Everyone was getting out of the pool. People were getting hurt. People were bleeding.” .”
Another bather, Sarah Wilson, also went to Givens Hot Springs with her son and her parents. She was in the locker room when the ceiling collapsed. She said that she came out of the dressing room and witnessed collateral damage.
The debris was in the children’s pool, she said. Wilson saw everyone coming out of the water under the rubble. People were looking for their children and relatives. Others asked for help from abroad. Wilson praised an employee who did her best to calm everyone down and organize them.
However, Lee Wilson, Sarah’s father, was in the pool during the cave-in. He was not seriously injured and only suffered a concussion. He was hospitalized and released later Saturday from the emergency room.
Lee Wilson spoke to the publication about experiencing the collapse, saying:
“I saw the first piece of wood fall from the roof. I heard it break, and then everything collapsed. I was hit, passed out and plunged into the water. A fireman saved me and my nephew pulled me out. But it was terrifying.”
After people present in Givens Hot Springs called 911, the first officer was on the scene within 11 minutes, according to reports. The Murphy Reynolds Wilson Fire Department, Murphy Wilson Rapid Response Unit, Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office and Marsing Ambulance Service responded to the accident in Givens Hot Springs on January 7.
Owyhee County deputies helped Givens Hot Springs workers evacuate the pool area, get everyone out of the pool and assess any injured people.
The sheriff’s office commended the responding agencies and thanked them for their prompt response and professionalism.