WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) – At least 18 people, including children, were injured following a multiple deck collapse in South Jersey, officials say. The incident happened at a three-story residence on the 200 block of East Baker Avenue in Wildwood around 6 p.m. on Saturday evening.
According to the Wildwood Fire Department, at least 18 people were taken to the hospital and at least one person was airlifted to the Atlantic City Medical Center’s Trauma unit.
“It’s amazing that nobody was killed here,” neighbor Mike de Mayo said.
The second and third floor decks collapsed on top of each other, in a “pancake-type collapse,” trapping several people who were at the residence for a firefighter convention, officials say.
“All victims were removed in under an hour and transported,” Wildwood Fire Chief Daniel Speigel said. “Proud to report that and as of right now, there are no fatalities.”
No information is being released regarding the patients’ conditions at this time.
Kevin McCullough was on one of the decks when they fell.
While authorities investigate how the collapse happened, crews plan to return Monday to clean up the debri and figure out a way to support the part of the roof hanging over the building @CBSPhilly #wildwood #wildwoodnj #deckcollapse #jerseyshore pic.twitter.com/0L5CD2ytr0
— Crystal Cranmore (@CrystalCranmore) September 15, 2019
“We’re OK, my wife is still at Atlantic City Medical Center with a broken sternum, but we’re all just grateful to be alive and no one was hurt worse than we were. Hopefully everyone gets on the mend real quick,” Kevin McCullough said.
McCullough is a firefighter with the Greeley Volunteer Fire Company in Pike County, Pennsylvania.
He says the collapse happened within seconds.
“We had no time to react,” McCullough said.
A neighbor told CBS3 that a 2-year-old girl was on one of the decks and was rescued from neighbors.
“We were sitting up on [our] deck and watched the whole thing happen. It was horrible,” witness Gail Ivins said. “There were people — they weren’t dancing or anything. They were sitting, a bunch of people. There were children on the decks — all three levels.
“We heard the noise of it starting to pull away. The first floor deck pulled away first. People started sliding off and yelling, falling. Then as that went, it pulled the pillars down and the third floor deck came down. It was very slow motion, it was really scaring. It came off in pieces.
“Both decks, most of it came off. There was a far section that was still on the building. There was a 2-year-old little girl still on the deck all by herself on that little corner and another lady on the third floor. We were yelling to the girl to stay away from the edge. That one came down, but it went slowly. When it slid off, there were men there to grab [her]. The third floor section came down after that with the lady standing on it. She slid off and right onto the sidewalk.”
Authorities say crews will be out on Monday to clean up the debris.
Engineers are working on a plan to support the part of the roof that is hanging over the seven-unit condominium.
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation.
CBS3’s Chantee Lans and Dan Koob contributed to this report.