Who is in charge of oversight for the at the former Great Indoors site in Woodbridge remains almost as big a mystery as the cause of the deck failure itself.
Woodbridge officials say that they for the parking deck inspection, pointing to state authorities who they say were in charge of the deck.
But according to Lisa Ryan, spokeswoman for the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA), her agency never had anything to do with the Woodbridge parking deck, or any parking decks, period.
"We don't have jurisdiction over parking decks, nor would DCA have anything on repairs for the parking garage," Ryan said.
"That responsibility would all be Woodbridge's."
Ryan said that DCA officials looking at their rules and regulations and found nothing to indicate they ever had anything to do with parking decks or garages, belonging to Woodbridge or any other municipality in the state.
"There is no requirement for DCA to inspect parking decks built in NJ," Ryan said flatly.
Part of the parking deck which directly fronted the former Great Indoors store at Woodbridge Crossing in the Iselin section of town pancaked out of the blue on August 21. A forklift and van were on the 70 by 100 ft. section of concrete that collapsed directly over an entrance to the lower deck.
No one was injured in the collapse.
Woodbridge town spokesman John Hagerty said last week that DCA had responsibility for the deck, not the township.
"We do not have structural engineers. We don't have the capability, nor is it our responsibility," Hagerty said then.
Hagerty, who fields calls for Mayor John McCormac, did not return repeated phone calls to answer DCA's claim that Woodbridge, and not the state, has responsibility for deck inspection.
The Woodbridge Crossing shopping center is a strip mall in Iselin where the deck is located. The anchor store where the section of deck collapsed housed the
Great Indoors, a Sears-owned franchise that folded in 2009.
The store has been vacant until earlier this year, when the announced plans to rehab the store and open a branch there. Sears still owns the building.
Workmen were putting the finishing touches on exterior renovations, including sign hanging, when the collapse occurred.
Sears spokesmen said that the building maintenance, including the deck, is being handled by the building manager, Onyx Equities, a Woodbridge-based firm.
Last week, Hagerty said that the "owner-operator" was handling inspection of the collapsed deck - not the township.
They had retained "structural engineers and [are] having an engineering review of the facility to check its structural integrity and any potential cause of the collapse," Hagerty said.
Onyx Equities did not return phone calls.