Baby pulled from rubble, fire official breaks bones in deck collapse
WILDWOOD — A neighbor says a 4-month-old child was among the more than 20 people hurt when two decks collapsed on Saturday — and a fire official suffered several broken bones.
Adults and children who'd been trapped in the collapse of the two decks continued to recover from their injuries Monday. The decks at a residence on Barker Avenue had "pancaked" on top of each other around 6 p.m. Saturday, according to Wildwood Fire Chief Daniel Speigel.
The city’s fire department and 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 sad.
Twenty-one people, including three children, were initially treated at Cape Regional Health System and were no longer at the hospital, spokeswoman Susan Staeger said. One was flown and another driven to a trauma center, but Staeger did not know where they were taken or their conditions.
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. It wasn't clear from the information released by the two hospitals whether those three were among the 21 who'd also been at Cape Regional.
Neighbor Diane Hollenbeck told 6 ABC Action News she helped remove debris and saw a 4-month-old infant pulled out of the pile of collapsed wood.
The collapse happened on the final day of the annual New Jersey State Firemen's Convention, which is held each September in Wildwood,
Several members of Branchville Hose Company No. 1 and their families were on the second floor deck when it collapsed, according to the Sussex County Fire Chief's Association. All but one of that company's members have been released from hospital care.
"Several members who are injured and will have a road of recovery after this traumatic experience. As a group we are thankful we are all alive and held together as one," the company wrote on its own Facebook page.
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. He said that everyone was extricated and transported to medical facilities in about one hour.
"Whoever they were, I wanted to throw a shout out to them for helping us get the victims removed," Speigel said at a Sunday press conference.
The Sussex County Fire Chief's Association also wrote that the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department's assistant fire chief, who was on the bottom deck, is suffering from numerous broken bones including leg, pelvis, jaw, and collarbone.
The investigation into the cause of the collapse is ongoing.
In a separate incident, a deck also collapsed during a backyard 85th birthday party at a home in Summit on Sunday afternoon. Summit Fire Department battalion chief Rick Locke told News 12 New Jersey the detached wooden deck in the backyard of a home on Tanglewood Drive collapsed when people gathered in a corner to take a picture.
The 30 foot-by-10-foot deck likely collapsed because of weight and the deterioration of the structure over the years, Locke told News 12 . The area was secured by firefighters with scene tape, and the homeowner was advised to keep away from the area, police said.
Two people were taken to a Overlook Medical Center for treatment of injuries but no serious injuries were reported.
A person at the party told News 12 the deck started to creak and they had "a couple milliseconds" to react.
Police said the City of Summit will evaluate the deck and review their concerns with a retaining wall.
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