Officials: Partial building collapse in East Rutherford traps man for nearly 2 hours
Officials say three people were injured, one seriously, after a building under renovation in East Rutherford partially collapsed Saturday afternoon.
Crews pulled out a man out from the foundation where he was pinned between the foundation wall and concrete for nearly two hours. He was rushed to the hospital as he was severely injured.
Two other people who were in the building with him suffered minor injuries.
Construction was taking place at the Railroad Cafe, which had been closed for a number of years as renovations were underway at the Union Avenue business.
Officials said the construction was permitted with full approvals as work was being done in the basement area when the incident happened.
More than 80 rescue officials worked from 1:30 p.m. until 3:18 p.m. to get the pinned man safely removed.
Deputy Chief Mike Christensen with the Hackensack Fire Department was first on scene.
"Before we could start removing him from the building, we had to make sure that the building was stabilized. So we had to shore up the remaining foundation and the rest of the building above him," Christensen explained.
Officials said the trapped man remained calm as the operation to rescue him took place.
"During the whole rescue operation, they were directly in contact with him. We did have paramedics down there with him, monitoring the whole time," Christensen added.
The man was rushed to the hospital in serious condition.
The near 150-year-old building was torn down Saturday evening. East Rutherford Mayor Jeffrey Lahullier said taking down the building was in everyone's best interest.
"This building was built in 1880. They were trying to keep it for historical reasons, but I think they realize now, the structure needs to be replaced," Lahullier said.
As for the fate of future plans, officials said the owners still plan to open a new restaurant, but instead it will be on a new building built from the ground up.