Responders break up party of thousands during University of South Carolina football game

Authorities in Columbia, S.C., said a party with “at least a couple thousand people” was broken up during a University of South Carolina football game on Saturday.

Columbia Fire Department spokesperson Mike DeSumma told The State, a South Carolina newspaper, that at least 2,000 people were discovered at an apartment complex near the university with most not social distancing or wearing masks. 

The crowd of mostly young adults allegedly violated Richland County’s mask mandate and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) executive order on social distancing, DeSumma said. 

He said that the department responded to the party after a call about a medical emergency close to halftime, adding that people at the party threw bottles at responders.

“There were so many people there that our responders had trouble getting in,” DeSumma told The State. “If we had come out for a fire or an emergency situation it would have been impossible to get in.”

Once the party was declared an imminent danger, the fire department, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the University of South Carolina worked together to disperse the crowd. The party was broken up before South Carolina won over Auburn University.

DeSumma told The State that there were no citations issued against partygoers for not wearing masks and no arrests were made because officials did not find those who threw the bottles at responders. 

The apartment complex, which sits about one mile from the university’s campus, could face consequences. Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins plans to meet with its management on Monday, DeSumma told the newspaper.

The New York Times categorizes South Carolina as a state in which “new cases are higher and staying high.” The state has recorded a seven-day average of 941 new cases per day.

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