Editor’s Note: In the aftermath of the incident, the Township of Maplewood and JMF Properties have added extra safety precautions at the site. Read more here.
Maplewood officials have responded to an incident that took place during demolition of the Post Office on Maplewood Avenue yesterday, in which a flagpole crashed to the sidewalk and street.
No one was injured in the incident.
A video surfaced on Facebook late yesterday showing a portion of the building’s front facade falling into fencing and bringing down the flagpole. Village Green reporters, who were unaware of the incident, were on site after 4 p.m. yesterday and noted a calm and orderly site at that time.
“We were on site most of the day,” said Mayor Vic DeLuca. “We did not observe it. We saw the video and informed the developer, ‘This is unacceptable.'”
When reached for comment, developer Joe Forgione of JMF Properties said, “We will make sure that it’s not going to happen again. The demolition contractor will be held accountable.” He also noted, “We have completely closed the sidewalk in front of the building.”
Forgione said that workers were not on site today but were attending prescheduled safety training with New Jersey Transit.
Village Green reached out to representatives of Mazza Demolition and Recycling of Tinton Falls at 3:20 p.m. today. Mazza has not yet responded to a request for comment.
In a video recording of the incident, eyewitnesses can be heard exclaiming “Wow!” and “That wasn’t supposed to happen!”
The fence and flagpole crashed onto a sidewalk that appeared partially open to pedestrians. The pole also fell into Maplewood Avenue which was open to traffic, but no cars were passing at the time. The pole cut off a hose connected to the fire hydrant, spraying water. On the video, workers can be observed quickly clearing the scene.
One eyewitness posted on Swap SOMa Lounge, “Lucky no one was walking on that side of the street!”