(WATCH) Firefighter Weekend Deck Collapse Injures 22 In Wildwood New Jersey
WILDWOOD, NJ - Multiple decks on a three-story building collapsed during a firefighters’ event at the Jersey Shore — injuring 22, including at least three children.
The collapse happened around 6 p.m. Saturday in Wildwood during the annual New Jersey Firemen’s Convention.
It was unclear how many people were on or under the decks at the time, or how many were firefighters, but authorities said those who were trapped were quickly removed.
The annual convention attracts thousands of current and former firefighters to the resort town. Firefighters were likely among those hurt or trapped.
"The 2nd and 3rd floor front decks suffered a complete 'pancake' type collapse trapping multiple people," the City of Wildwood Fire Department Chief Daniel F. Speigel said in a statement Sunday.
Those trapped were freed and taken to hospitals within an hour, the statement said.
Officials transported about 18 of those injured. The others drove themselves or had someone drive them to Cape Regional Medical Center. Most of the injured have been discharged.
“It was horrible,” witness Gail Ivins told the station, saying everyone was sitting on the decks and not “dancing or anything.”
“We heard the noise of it starting to pull away,” she said. “People started sliding off and yelling, falling.
“It was very slow motion, it was really scaring. It came off in pieces.”
"The City's Fire Department and the City's Construction Office are working with the building owners, engineers, and contractors to properly secure a hip-roof that is currently unsupported due to the collapse," Speigel said.
Speigel did not say what caused the collapse. No deaths have been reported and the cause of the collapse is under investigation.