At least 22 were injured in deck collapse Saturday evening at a home in Wildwood, New Jersey, according to agents for area hospitals. Three levels of decking attached to a residential building collapsed on top of each other at the Jersey Shore, injuring people, including some children.
The collapse in Wildwood happened at around 6 p.m. through the annual New Jersey Firemen’s Convention, which attracts thousands of current and previous firefighters to the resort town.
The collapse created a frantic scramble to search for victims during the Jersey Shore town’s annual firefighters weekend, according to various reports.
Photos and videos from the scene confirmed at least two large decks on a three-story building had fallen. Emergency officials, many of them firefighters, could be seen trying to lift one of the decks.
It was not obvious 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.
Cape May Regional Health System stated 21 people were taken there, at least three of them children. Eleven patients had been released by 10 p.m., including all the children who were admitted, hospital spokeswoman Susan Staeger told The Associated Press. One person was treated at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, spokeswoman Jennifer Tornetta said, adding she didn’t have information on the person’s condition.
According to the Sussex County Fire Chief’s Association, upwards of eight members of the Branchville Fire Department and their family members were injured in the collapse. All but one were released from area hospitals.
“Everyone from Branchville Fire in Wildwood,” stated Randy Morse, a firefighter in Branchville, in a Facebook post. “Some bumps and bruises and some minor cuts. Everyone is at the hospital being treated. Thanks to everyone for (their) concern much appreciated.
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 continued. “I saw two women running and screaming. It was horrible.”
Wildwood Fire Chief Daniel Speigel said authorities would not make a statement Saturday amid attempts to clean up and investigate. More information is likely on Sunday, he said.