It may be months before the cause of the sudden at the renovated store where the was to open this fall may be known. The corner of the deck, upon which was a forklift and a van, pancaked down onto the lower part of the parking garage Tuesday, August 21, leaving officials and building authorities baffled as to what happened.
No one was injured in the incident. But the collapse has also raised concerns about whether the rest of the parking deck at the Woodbridge Crossing strip mall is safe.
Trying to find out, though, who is in charge of investigating the cause of the parking deck collapse isn't easy.
It appears that the NJ Division of Community Affairs (DCA) is responsible for inspecting parking decks in the state.
Town has no responsibility for deck
Woodbridge Township spokesman John Hagerty said that the local government doesn't have responsibility for overseeing the parking structure, which is a separate entity from the retail store it was once connected to.
"The owner-operator was retaining structural engineers and having an engineering review of the facility to check its structural integrity and any potential cause of the collapse," Hagerty said. "We had an inspector over there yesterday [after the collapse].
"We do not have structural engineers. We don't have the capability, nor is it our responsibility."
The township's building inspectors have been on site through the renovation of the store, which was a high-end retail store owned by Sears that was closed in 2009. Their oversight, though, stops at the doors of the store.
Property manager will do inspection
Sears Holding Corp. still owns the property, which was rented earlier this year to the Burlington Coat Factory.
Sears spokeswoman Kimberly Freely pointed to Onyx Equities, a Woodbridge-based building management firm as having responsibility for the property. They were handling the investigation into the cause of the collapse, she said.
The property manager assigned to the store refused to give her name or comment for this story. A receptionist at the company passed along a statement from an Onyx manager when questioned again about the collapse.
"It's not been resolved yet. We have no comment," the receptionist said.
DCA did not respond by press time about the state's role in investigating the deck collapse in time for this story.