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article imageThree level parking garage in New Jersey has collapsed

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 16, 2010 in World
Hackensack - A glass canopy fell off of a high-rise condominium building and onto a parking garage two stories below today, partly flattening the structure and trapping at least one person. Authorities are unable to tell how many are injured or dead at this time.
Rescuers could see the victim but couldn't get to the person because they were concerned about the possibility of another collapse at the three-story garage, Hackensack fire Lt. Stephen Lindner said. They could not determine the victim's condition.
Authorities were also checking out reports that two to three more people might also be trapped, Lindner said. Searches were being performed into accessible areas and rescue dogs were heading to the scene of the building collapse.
The garage 'pancaked' when the canopy fell on it, damaging vehicles. Television footage shows the top level of the underground garage littered with dirt, debris and glass, and wide cracks in the pavement.
Rachel LaValle, 26, said she was driving out of the garage and had reached the street level when she noticed a cloud of thick white dust. Mistaking it for smoke, she got out of her car to check for a fire. Then, seeing through the dust to the part of the garage that had collapsed, she got back in her car, shifted it into reverse, parked and ran out of the garage reports NJ.com.
She saw water spilling out of pipes and a big hole where part of the garage had once stood. "There was still dirt coming down at me," she said
It's unclear why the canopy fell from the 22-year-old building, which is adjacent to the garage. Several residents said workers had uprooted a tree between the street and the building within the past few months, and that a leak in the basement was being fixed.
Resident Chris Baldo was in his first-floor unit when he felt the building shake. He looked out his window and the garage "was just gone," he told NBC New York.
Irene Casapulla, who lives on the second floor, said she heard "a bunch of thumping, and all of a sudden it sounded like an earthquake, reports FOX News.
Emergency workers were helping residents leave the building as a precaution. One firefighter was shown on the news wheeling a luggage cart stacked with cases of water for emergency workers out in the 90-degree heat.
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