Firefighters Respond To Woodbury, New Jersey Collapse Rescue

Shortly after 9:30 a.m. on Friday, December 17, 2004 in Gloucester County, Woodbury, New Jersey fire fighters were dispatched to the Woodbury High School for a structure collapse.

The first arriving units found a 17 1/2 foot tall delivery truck trying to take a short cut through the school property in an attempt to exit onto Rt. 45. In doing so, the driver, a 39 year old employee of Fed Ex tried to drive under a 12 ft 7 inch steel and concrete breezeway that connects the school to their gymnasium. The truck struck the structure causing it to collapse onto the cab of the truck, trapping the driver inside.

Special calls were made bringing Heavy Duty Rescue equipment from Westville Fire Dept., Gibbstown Fire Co., Woodbury Heights Fire Co., Deptford Fire Co., Valero, and units were called from Camden County, Gloucester City Fire Dept., Camden City Fire Dept. Rescue 1 and Squad Co. 7.

Camden City firefighters presently have 80 fire fighters attending a 2 week Special Training Class on Structural Collapse that is sponsored by the New Jersey State Police in Lakehurst, NJ. Many members on the Woodbury incident had just completed this special training.

Firefighters worked hand in hand stabilizing the crushed vehicle and bracing the collapsed structure. Many of the large heavy concrete slabs were broken off and were just about ready to fall. After the structure was stabilized firefighters from Woodbury and Westville were able to cut through and were able to remove the passenger side door of the truck, allowing EMS members and Life Support Personnel to remove the driver onto a back board for transportation to the hospital.

It took firefighters almost 3 hours to free the trapped driver safety from the cab of the truck and he was transported to a local hospital.