updated 7/31/2004 12:04:09 PM ET 2004-07-31T16:04:09

A balcony with dozens of people on it collapsed at a casino and bar here, injuring more than 50, authorities said Saturday.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

An official at Polson's St. Joseph Hospital said 54 people were treated there for injuries sustained in the collapse late Friday, but she declined to release any details on the extent of injuries.

Polson Fire Chief Tom Maloney seven of the injuries were serious or critical, but the others did not appear to be life-threatening.

He said most of the injuries consisted of broken legs and ankles.

What caused the 14-foot high balcony at the Diamond Horseshoe casino to collapse remains unclear, he said. Investigators were expected to return to the site Saturday morning to inspect the rubble of the wooden structure.

No one answered the phone at the Diamond Horseshoe Saturday morning.

Maloney said emergency crews were called at about 11:30 p.m. Friday and found a "chaotic scene."

"There were injured people all over the ground, a lot of people wanting immediate help," he said.

One witness told radio station KERR in Polson that he heard two loud snaps or cracks just moments before the collapse.

More than 30 people with the most serious injuries were taken to the local hospital by a dozen ambulances, many brought from neighboring communities. Victims with less serious injuries were transported in private vehicles to receive treatment.

Maloney said the bar and casino overlooking Flathead Lake is a popular night spot in Polson, made even more popular this weekend because of a three-man basketball tournament in town.

"Most of the victims appear to be young folks enjoying a night out," he said.

Maloney said the balcony passed its most recent inspection, conducted as part of a routine fire inspection. It was not immediately clear when that occurred.

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