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2 construction workers injured in partial building collapse in New Jersey

Construction worker rescued after partial collapse in NJ building
Construction worker rescued after partial collapse in NJ building 02:00

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A construction worker was trapped and injured Saturday after a partial building collapse in New Jersey.

The building was in such bad shape, authorities decided to demolish it.

Within seconds, a building that has been standing for over 140 years came crashing down.

"It was a building that has been here in town forever," East Rutherford resident Lois Sciandra said. "You get choked up thinking about sitting out on the deck."

The Railroad Cafe was an indoor-outdoor staple in East Rutherford. Shut down for a few years, the new owners were renovating to turn it into a new restaurant. But on Saturday, a portion of the building collapsed, trapping one of the three construction workers in the basement.

"Portion of the building, it's a foundation wall of the building that supports the structure. They were working along that side digging when the wall collapsed in on them," East Rutherford Fire Chief John Giancaspro said.

It took two hours to get him out.

"The landing just collapsed on him. He was trapped under there for several hours, so I heard. But they did get him out, and he is alive, but waist down injuries. It's horrible. But the building is so old," neighbor Patricia Peeples said.

According to fire officials, it was an extensive technical operation. Aid from multiple agencies was requested, including a search and rescue strike team.

"Before we could start removing him from the building, we had to make sure the building was stabilized," Hackensack Fire Chief Mike Christenson said.

Officials say owners plan to rebuild. It will all start from scratch.

"It's probably a lot cheaper to build a new structure than to try to renovate. This building was built, I believe, in 1880," East Rutherford Mayor Jeffrey Lahullier said.

"It's sad because I've lived in this town for, like, 16 years, but safety first," East Rutherford resident Meryl Heddy said.

That worker was transported to the hospital for his injuries. His condition is unknown. A second worker is also being treated for a leg injury.

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