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River Edge strip mall facade collapses, damages cars

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RIVER EDGE -

Authorities say the facade of a Bergen County strip mall collapsed, damaging several vehicles but causing no injuries.

The collapse in River Edge was reported shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday. Kress Plaza on Kinderkamack Road has about 20 stores. The falling debris blocked some store entrances, causing some people to be briefly trapped in stores before they were safely rescued.

Courtney Lichtenberger said that she had just opened up National Artifacts comic book store when the roof of the plaza came crumbling down.  She took a Facebook Live video just in case something happened to her.

"I know I'm trapped inside. I just don't know if it's going to get worse,” Lichtenberger said

Rescue crews were able to get to her quickly and cleared out the debris.

“They were able to get the door up enough that they could lift me and I was able to walk over the bricks and get out,” she said.

Peter Morosco says that he had just closed the door of the trophy store behind him when he heard the crash.  He says that he and the workers all rushed to the door.

"We tried to open the door. We pressed our faces to the glass to see,” Morosco says.

Morosco and the other workers were able to get out through the back door.

Several cars were also damaged in the collapse. River Edge Fire Chief says that it was a miracle that no one was hurt.

“It's amazing.  All these people coming in and out of here, cars parked here, nobody got hurt,” he said.

It was not immediately known what caused the roof to collapse. One of the shop owners tells News 12 New Jersey that he recently raised concerns about the roof.

Building inspectors are looking into what happened.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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