WILDWOOD - When second and third-floor decks collapsed at a Wildwood condominium Sept. 14, 18 persons were injured, and multiple emergency agencies responded.
According to a Wildwood Fire Department release, at about 6 p.m., the Wildwood City Fire Department, Squad 3 and Rescue 3 along with the North Wildwood Fire Department Quint 2 were dispatched to the 200 block of East Baker Avenue for a reported structural collapse.
Squad 3, under the command of Firefighter Gerry Vessels, arrived and immediately reported a major deck collapse with multiple people trapped.
He requested the Cape May County Regional Urban Search Team (R.U.S.T.).
Chief Daniel Speigel arrived and assumed command. He requested a second alarm to be sounded.
New Jersey Task Force 1 – Urban Search and Rescue Team was also initially requested.
Cape May County’s Emergency Medical Services Coordinator Chief Sean McDevitt was requested and dispatched two emergency medical service Strike Teams for ambulances to the scene. Wildwood police, along with police from North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, responded and assisted with traffic and crowd control as well as transferring patients to waiting ambulances.
The building is a seven-unit multiple-family dwelling condo building.
The second and third-floor front decks suffered a complete “pancake” type collapse trapping multiple people.
In total, approximately 18 people were transported. At least one victim was airlifted to AtlantiCare Medical Center’s Trauma Unit – City Division from the scene.
It was also reported that several victims had either transported themselves or were transported by personal vehicles to Cape Regional Medical Center.
All patients were extricated and transported to medical facilities in about one hour. The city’s fire department and the city’s Construction Office are working with the building owners, engineers and contractors to secure a hip-roof that was unsupported due to the collapse.
Agencies assisting on scene and covering the island for additional calls included:
Fire Departments: Wildwood City FD, North Wildwood FD, Ocean City FD, Cape May City FD, Wildwood Crest FD, West Wildwood FD, Stone Harbor FD, Rio Grande FD, Villas FD, Erma FD
EMS agencies: Wildwood Crest EMS, Lower Twp. EMS, Middle Township EMS, Stone Harbor FD, Wildwood FD, North Wildwood FD, AtlantiCare Paramedics
Police Agencies: Wildwood PD, North Wildwood PD, Wildwood Crest PD
Cape May County Regional Urban Search Team (R.U.S.T.), Cape May County’s EMS and Fire Coordinators, New Jersey Task Force 1 – Urban Search and Rescue Team (Incident Support Unit)
No information was released on the patients' conditions as of Sept. 15 in the morning. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available, according to Speigel.