At least 24 in­jured as Jer­sey Shore decks col­lapse dur­ing con­ven­tion

The Morning Call - - LOCAL/STATE NEWS - As­so­ci­ated Press

WILD­WOOD, N.J. — Nearly two dozen peo­ple were taken to hos­pi­tals af­ter a deck col­lapsed over the week­end at the New Jer­sey shore, but au­thor­i­ties said al­most all of the vic­tims were treated and re­leased.

The mul­ti­level deck col­lapsed at about 6 p.m. Satur­day in Wild­wood dur­ing the an­nual New Jer­sey Fire­man’s Con­ven­tion, which at­tracts thou­sands of cur­rent and for­mer fire­fight­ers to the re­sort town.

Cape May Re­gional Health Sys­tem spokes­woman Su­san Staeger said Sun­day that 19 of the 21 pa­tients were treated and re­leased, in­clud­ing three chil­dren. At­lanti­Care Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s trauma cen­ter re­ported re­ceiv­ing three pa­tients, but spokes­woman Jen­nifer Tor­netta said fam­ily mem­bers had asked that no in­for­ma­tion be re­leased.

Wild­wood’s fire chief said Sun­day the sec­ond- and third­story front decks of the sev­e­nunit condo build­ing “suf­fered a com­plete pan­cake-type col­lapse.” Chief Daniel Speigel hailed the ef­forts of first-re­spon­ders gath­ered in the area for the con­ven­tion and pa­rade who jumped into ac­tion to help free those trapped.

“Who­ever they were, I wanted to throw a shout out to them for help­ing us get the vic­tims re­moved,” Speigel said. “All vic­tims were re­moved in un­der an hour and trans­ported [to the hospi­tal], which is pretty phe­nom­e­nal.”

Photos and video on so­cial me­dia showed fire­fight­ers try­ing to lift a piece of deck­ing. Im­ages showed mul­ti­ple lev­els of deck­ing ripped away from the build­ing and re­duced to beams and splin­tered wood.

Nearby res­i­dent Joann De­vito saw the col­lapse from a deck across the street.

“I was sit­ting on the deck up there, and I heard this noise, so I turned and looked and saw the whole thing cav­ing in,” she said. “I saw two women run­ning and scream­ing. It was horrible.”

The cause of the col­lapse remains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. City fire and con­struc­tion crews are work­ing with the build­ing own­ers, engi­neers and con­trac­tors to se­cure a roof cur­rently un­sup­ported due to the col­lapse, the fire depart­ment said in a state­ment.

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