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Waldwick Superdome employees could hear collapse coming

Photo Credit: Mary Beth Lane Nappi
Photo Credit: Mary Beth Lane Nappi

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The company that installed the dome on the Superdome Sports Complex in Waldwick was cleaning up and working to get it aloft again after it collapsed this morning.

The incident followed a series of overnight roof cave-ins reported at a Wallington elementary school, the New Milford Shop Rite and the Waste Management Facility in Hillsdale, as well as collapses at homes in Hackensack, South Hackensack and River Edge.

“Employees of the Superdome were aware this might happen, given what the freezing rain, ice and snow has done in the tri-state area,” Police Lt. Douglas Moore told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “So there was nobody inside.”

They called police just after 10:30 a.m. after they “heard it creaking,” Moore said. The dome caved in moments later.

Police evacuated an adjoining building that houses a dance school, a physical therapy center and a juice bar.

The building inspector confirmed that the heavy, wet snow brought the dome down, and the installation company was called, Moore said.

Meanwhile, the facility remained closed.

The heavy snow, compacted by freezing rain and then more snow, buckled roofs in Hackensack and South Hackensack, as well as in River Edge, according to police reports.

No injuries were immediately reported in any of the incidents.

Troubles continued through the morning commute and beyond.

For instance:

In Woodcliff Lake, a tree on Pascack Road caught fire;
Glen Rock had a downed tree blocking the road at Ackerman and Prospect;
Westwood was having problems with the railroad crossings in town.

The school gym roof collapsed at the Frank W Gavlak pubic school in Wallington at 1:41 a.m., Capt. Carmello Imbruglia told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Live wires that were downed outside the school kept firefighters back until PSE&G arrived.

The K-6 school already was closed for the day — and will be next week for the annual February break.

“We’re just grateful it wasn’t during a time when kids were in the building or any staff,” Imbruglia said. “That gym is also used for recess.”

Police were making periodic checks of the school, but the structure appeared sound.

About a third of the roof caved in, pushing down the middle of the metal support truss. Police responded immediately and were instantly followed by firefighters, PSE&G, the building inspector and DPW crews.

Meanwhile, in New Milford, employees at the River Street Shop Rite “discovered the interior ceiling tiles buckled when they reported to work,” New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Police immediately evacuated the store, which will remain closed until structural engineer can certify the integrity of the building.

“I’m no engineer, but I don’t like the looks of it,” Papapietro said. “There are several cracks in the interior and exterior of the building.”

There was also a complete roof collapse at the Waste Management transfer station in Hillsdale: Waste Management roof collapse ‘could have been a disaster’

The roof also caved in at the Kohls department store on Route 46 in Woodland Park.

CLIFFVIEW PILOT PHOTOS: Mary Beth Lane Nappi

ABOVE: The dome entrance INSET shows where the dome split in the middle (PHOTOS: Mary Beth Lane Nappi)

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