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Person found in collapsed parking garage in New Jersey

By the CNN Wire Staff
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New Jersey parking garage collapses
  • NEW: One person is confirmed trapped in the rubble of a collapsed garage
  • NEW: Rescuers have concerns about a second car but are unsure if anyone is inside
  • NEW: Three stories of the garage "pancaked" in the collapse
  • Rescue workers are proceeding slowly due to secondary collapse concerns

(CNN) -- Police have confirmed that at least one person is trapped in the rubble of a partially collapsed parking garage in Hackensack, New Jersey.

That person's car is caught in rubble one floor below what would have been the top level of the collapsed structure, Lt. Stephen Lindner of the Hackensack Fire Department told reporters. He had no information on the person's identity or condition.

Lindner said there is concern that someone also may be in another car in the basement of the collapsed garage, but it has been seen only on surveillance video and rescuers haven't been able to determine whether anyone is inside.

Lindner confirmed that no one living in the building served by the garage has been reported missing.

The garage collapsed shortly before 11 a.m. Friday. Lindner said at a news conference late Friday afternoon that three stories of the underground parking structure "pancaked," one on top of the next.

Workers from the state, the county and the city are at the site and are in "active rescue mode," he said. They are proceeding slowly and carefully, he said, because they are worried about secondary collapses and want to ensure the safety of personnel at the scene.

Engineers are assessing the integrity of the apartments near the parking structure. Lindner confirmed that residents of the apartment building adjacent to the parking garage will not be allowed to return Friday night and may not be allowed to return on Saturday. Residents of buildings in the complex that are not adjacent to the garage are allowed to remain in their apartments, but not to remove their cars.

The Red Cross is on site to assist, and shelter will be available for people with no place to go. Personnel also are on hand to rescue pets that remain in the evacuated building.

Chris Baldo, who lives on the first floor of the building, said the collapse felt like an earthquake. He said he could see the entire collapse from his balcony, adding that his first-floor apartment "looked like it was the fourth floor" by the time the dust settled.

CNN's Mark Norman and Kristen Hamill contributed to this report