New surveillance and body cam footage show the terrifying moment a deck came crashing down in Wildwood, New Jersey, as well as the frantic effort to rescue the firefighters and children who were trapped underneath the rubble.
The video, obtained exclusively by NBC10, shows people sitting peacefully on the porch at a 7-unit condominium complex on Baker Avenue around 6 p.m. Saturday. In a split second, the deck above their heads comes crashing down.
“People are hurt,” a caller yelled to a 911 operator. “Help…our balcony collapsed!”
The 911 calls triggered a massive response from police, medics and firefighters, captured partially by multiple body cam videos. The footage shows the first responders race against time to free the victims who were trapped in the wreckage.
In all, more than 20 people were hurt, including children and firefighters who were in Wildwood for the annual New Jersey Firemen’s Convention.
“When we pulled up on scene, there were people instantly helping,” Wildwood Fire Department Deputy Chief Ernie Troiano, III said. “It’s just in the nature of these folks. You don’t run from it. You go to it and they’re there to help you.”
Fortunately, all of the victims survived.
Fire Department officials said the body cam footage could serve as a teaching tool and they hope to use it for training to help prepare for future incidents.
“After seeing the video, it’s just, I think by the grace of God that no one was killed,” Deputy Chief Troiano said.
City records reveal the building was originally constructed in the 1930s before being renovated in 2005 and converted into condo units that were each sold to individual buyers.
Deputy Chief Troiano said he wasn't aware of any prior issues with the building. The city is taking a close look at decks on other older buildings in Wildwood as the investigation into the cause of the collapse continues.