Video: NJ FF event deck collapse shows frantic moments, rescue efforts

A woman who witnessed the incident said there was approximately eight to 10 people gathered on each deck when the collapse occurred


By Jeff Goldman
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

EDISON, N.J. — Newly released footage shows the frantic moments following a deck collapse in Wildwood earlier this month that injured 22 people.

Surveillance footage from the condo building and body cam video from police officers obtained by 6abc.com provided a view of the collapse and the chaotic scene that ensued at the house during Wildwood’s annual firefighter convention weekend.

Multiple decks collapsed in Wildwood during the annual firefighters weekend. This is a photo of the aftermath, taken the next day. (Photo/Tribune News Service)
Multiple decks collapsed in Wildwood during the annual firefighters weekend. This is a photo of the aftermath, taken the next day. (Photo/Tribune News Service)

At least 22 people — including several firefighters and three children — were injured when the second and third-floor decks pancaked to the ground level of the building on the 200 block of Baker Avenue.

Nineteen people were treated and released from a Cape May County hospital the night of the Sept. 14 collapse. Three others were taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s trauma center in Atlantic City.

Footage from inside the home shows a group of people sitting around a rectangular table on one of the decks before it suddenly collapsed. Moments later people inside the house are seen racing out to help.

Later, a police officer’s body camera reveals rescuers working to free trapped victims. During a snippet of a 911 call, a woman pleads for assistance while the operator attempts to keep her calm.

The group on the deck included eight to 10 firefighters and family members from Branchville who, for at least five years, have been renting a second-floor condominium in the building, which is about 190 miles from their Sussex County hometown.

A woman who witnessed the incident from the front porch of the Newport Hotel said there was approximately eight to 10 people gathered on each deck when the collapse occurred. She said the middle deck collapsed first, followed by the one on the third floor.

“The screaming sounded like an amusement park ride,” the woman, who did not want to be identified, said. “But it sounded much worse.”

The 90-year-old building was originally apartments that were converted to condos in 2004.

A Wildwood police spokesman couldn’t immediately be reached by NJ Advance Media on Tuesday morning.

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©2019 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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