While an investigation continued Sunday into the cause of two decks collapsing on a three-story condominium building in Wildwood, most of the roughly two dozen people injured were no longer hospitalized, officials said.
The property on the 200 block of East Baker Avenue was a seven-unit, multifamily condominium building, Wildwood Fire Chief Daniel Speigel said in a news release Sunday. The collapse shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday was “pancake” in nature, he said.
“The second- and third-floor front decks suffered a complete ‘pancake’ type collapse, trapping multiple people,” Speigel said. All were freed from the wreckage and taken to hospitals within an hour, he said. Some were firefighters, in town for a convention, witnesses have said.
Speigel said 18 people were taken to medical facilities, with at least one victim airlifted to AtlantiCare’s trauma center in Atlantic City. Other victims took themselves or had others drive them to hospitals, Speigel said.
The Wildwood Fire Department and the city’s construction office are working with building owners, engineers and contractors to “properly secure a hip-roof that is currently unsupported due to the collapse,” Speigel said. A hip-roof is one where all sides slope downward to the walls.
He said no information is being released on the condition of any patient. The cause of the collapse should be known in the “next few days,” he said in an email.
Nineteen people, including three children, have been released from the Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House, spokesperson Susan Staeger said in an emailed statement sent shortly before midnight Saturday.
Two other people who initially had been brought to Cape Regional were transferred. One was flown by helicopter to a trauma center, and one was transferred by ground to a trauma center, said Staeger, who did not identify the facilities.
Three people were treated for injuries at AtlantiCare, hospital spokesperson Jennifer Tornetta said in a statement. Family members of those patients have asked the hospital not to release additional information. It was not clear whether those patients included the two transferred from Cape Regional.
The collapse site is two blocks from the boardwalk and a block from Wildwood High School. Witnesses said people were having dinner on at least one of the decks. Onlookers posted photos of the wreckage on social media, which depicted firefighters and police officers lifting the fallen decks and removing people trapped underneath.