Sinkholes Rare in Bergen County
A FORKLIFT OPERATOR ESCAPED WITH minor injuries Monday when the forklift he was riding suddenly dropped into a sinkhole in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Danny Rodriguez was working inside a warehouse that stores non-perishable food products when,around 12:30 pm, the 40-ft. diameter hole opened up, dropping him about 8 feet to the initial bottom of the hole. He was able to get himself out of the hole before the fire department arrived, and was transported to the hospital with back pains.
Witnesses described the hole as being 30 to 40 feet wide and six to 10 feet deep. It was filled with a dark, oily liquid that authorities later said was cooking oil and soy sauce that was being stored in the warehouse and fell into the hole when the floor gave way.
Rodriguez managed to get out without serious injury, authorities said.
"Fortunately for the operator, the forklift went straight down and didn’t tip to the side because then he could have really been hurt," said borough Police Chief Larry Minda.
Sarah Entena, the administrator for AM Express Freight, said Rodriguez has worked for the Carlstadt-based company for about 30 years — "He’s the best forklift driver we have," she said. "The forklift protected him" from drowning or serious physical harm, she added. "And thank God for that."
The warehouse is part of a nine-building attached complex and the local code inspector sealed off the warehouse along with the occupancies on each side until the building's owner is able to make corrective action to make it safe.
Later in the afternoon the incident was revised from "sinkhole" to "floor collapse" when it was determined that the floor collapsed into a sealed-off, and unknown to current occupants, basement.
View News12's informative video report HERE.
Hat tip: Mark D.
* * * * * * *