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Worker killed in balcony collapse at Sea Isle City condo building

Police identify man killed in balcony collapse at Sea Isle City condo
Police identify man killed in balcony collapse at Sea Isle City condo 00:57

SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. (CBS) – Police have identified a man killed after a balcony collapsed at a condo building in Sea Isle City Friday afternoon.

Jose Pereira, 43, of Philadelphia, was trapped beneath the 8th-floor balcony when it collapsed onto the 7th-floor balcony at the south tower of the Spinnaker Condominium Complex off 36th Street and the Boardwalk. Pereira was pinned down.

He was pronounced dead at the scene before 10 p.m. Friday after an hours-long rescue effort.

Pereira was working for a contractor based in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

Officials said two other workers had minor injuries.

Residents evacuated the building while the rescue work took place.

The balconies at the building's south tower are now being reinforced. Private engineers will conduct further inspections, Sea Isle City police said.

Residents aren't allowed back inside until the work is completed.

"This has been a tragic day at the Spinnaker, my heart is shattered at the moment but I ask that you please keep the Spinnaker staff, contractors, their families and first responders in your thoughts tonight," building management told residents Friday night.

Officials fear trapped worker did not survive balcony collapse 01:59

Witnesses heard someone calling for help after the collapse.

"Just total chaos," witness Joye Fiocchi said. "Just people screaming."  

"I called 911 right away," Fiocchi said. "And it's just 20 minutes later, I heard him screaming again. I guess he was saying get it off of me, and I never heard anything since."

Eric Hupperich was inside the building on break in a lower-level unit when it all happened.

"We felt it through our bodies like shaking and it was a really, really loud boom," Hupperich said.

First responders from Cape May and Camden counties, as well as at the state level worked together in recovery efforts to free the man trapped on the 7th floor. 

Rescuers breached a hole through the outside concrete wall, which was about a foot thick, to grab Pereira.

Several large cracks in the concrete could be seen from the ground.

Later in the evening, crews were seen putting up wood planks to stabilize the building. This was after fire officials noted the balcony was showing signs of stress.

"We're figuring the balconies weigh between 11,000-15,000 pounds a piece," Matt Johnson said.

The 9-story complex, built in the 1970s, was evacuated.

Officials say the private contractors were doing prep and paint work on the building earlier Friday.

Two injured, one trapped as balcony collapsed at Cape May County condominium building 02:55
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