The Georgia World Congress Center Authority on Saturday disputed a witness’ account of how quickly it responded to a fatal fall Friday night at the Georgia Dome.
Dome emergency medical technicians, stationed in four areas of the Dome, were tending to the victim within moments of his fall, despite a witness’ statement that it took EMTs 15 minutes to arrive, a GWCC spokeswoman said.
Jennifer LeMaster, the spokeswoman, said Isaac Grubb, 20, of Lenoir City, Tenn., fell 45 feet from an upper deck of the Georgia Dome on Friday night during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between the University of Tennessee and North Carolina State.
Authorities on Saturday continued to investigate the accident that left the Tennessee fan dead and another person injured. One witness told investigators that Grubb was seen drinking alcohol on the Dome premises around 5 p.m. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said it was awaiting the results of toxicology tests.
None of the vendors inside the Dome sold Grubb alcohol, GWCC officials said.
“We have a zero tolerance policy for serving minors,” LeMaster said. “We have extensive training on when to cut [patrons] off.” The legal age for buying alcohol in Georgia is 21.
LeMaster said Grubb entered the Dome’s upper Gate C at 7:23 p.m. He was celebrating a Tennessee touchdown that happened at 8:23 p.m. when he fell over the railing, the spokeswoman said. EMTs arrived at 8:24 p.m. after responding to an emergency dispatch inside the Dome, LeMaster said. At 8:28 p.m., additional EMTs arrived. Grubb was carried out of the Dome on a gurney at 8:31 p.m. and arrived at Grady Memorial Hospital at 8:55 p.m., the spokeswoman said.
LeMaster said Grubb struck a 34-year-old man from Fort Mill, S.C., during his fall. The man, whose name was not disclosed, suffered facial lacerations and was taken to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. He was later released.
LeMaster said 55,529 people were at the Dome for the game. She said deck railing “meets or exceeds the international building code requirement.”
“There’s nothing in our investigation that indicates we need to change anything that we’re currently doing,” LeMaster told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. “The safety and security of our fans are paramount. It appears to be a tragic accident.” The case was being investigated by the GWCC Police Department, the Fulton ME’s office and the state fire marshal’s office.
Two fans in Section 311, behind the end zone, were sitting near Grubb when he fell.
“Tennessee had scored a touchdown — I believe it was the second,” said William Coates, a Tennessee fan from Arkansas. “It looked like [the man who fell] was doing a fist pump, and then he was gone over the top.”
William Fossett, a Tennessee fan from Paducah, Ky., said, “He was just laying there [in the section below] between rows. It took like 15 minutes for the medical workers to get there.”
Nationwide, it was the second fall at a sporting event last week. A 25-year-old Houston man died after falling about 60 feet from a fifth-floor escalator at Reliant Stadium in Houston during a Thursday preseason Texans game, officials said Friday.
Staff writers Christopher Seward, Mike Morris, Doug Roberson, Mark Bradley and Angel K. Brooks contributed to this article.