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No further safety problems found at collapsed New Jersey garage

From Julie Cannold, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fire officials say the building is now structurally safe
  • Residents may return to collect their belongings as early as Wednesday
  • An investigation into the cause of the collapse will be conducted
  • No one was injured in the incident

(CNN) -- Fire department and construction officials said Monday that there is no further cause for concern at the site of a New Jersey parking garage collapse.

"At this point in the investigation, [the engineers] are comfortable there are no further structural problems with the building," Joseph Mellone, a Hackensack construction official, told a news conference.

Hackensack Fire Department Lt. Stephen Lindner told reporters that two-thirds of the building's columns have been inspected by engineers and determined to be safe. Lindner said the rest of the inspection will be completed by the end of the day.

"The fire department feels very confident that moving forward we are going to be able to get residents back in there as quickly as possible," Lindner said.

Fire officials said they do not know when residents of the adjacent apartment building will be allowed to move back in.

Lindner added that he is hopeful that residents will be allowed in to retrieve personal belongings as early as Wednesday.

Hackensack City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono said that while there is no concern about the potential for other buildings on the street to collapse, inspectors are doing precautionary checks of nearby structures.

The garage collapsed shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, when three stories of the underground parking structure "pancaked," one on top of the next.

No one was injured in the incident.

The fire department remains on the scene as a precaution.

Lindner said an investigation into the cause of the collapse is forthcoming, but is not a priority until all safety inspections have been completed.