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At least one person trapped in NJ parking garage collapse

HACKENSACK, N.J. - A glass canopy attached to a high-rise condominium building fell onto a parking garage two stories below on Friday, partly flattening the structure and trapping at least one person, authorities said.

Using a remote camera and a robot, rescuers could see one victim in a car on the first level down but couldn't get to the person because they were concerned about the possibility of another collapse at the three-story garage, Hackensack fire Lt. Stephen Lindner said. They could not determine the victim's condition.

Crews were clearing debris and shoring up the structure before they could attempt to rescue the victim. "We are absolutely making progress" in getting to the victim, Lindner said.

Authorities were checking out whether a second person might also be trapped in another car, Lindner said. Surveillance cameras detected a car on an exit ramp two levels down around the time of the collapse, but rescuers haven't been able to get a camera close enough to determine if there was someone inside.

Neither car was completely flat, Lindner said. "There is some chance of survivability," he said, but added the cameras haven't detected movement.

The garage pancaked when the canopy fell on it, damaging vehicles. The top of the underground garage, level with the street, was littered with dirt, debris and glass, and the pavement split into chunks.

It's unclear why the canopy fell from the 22-year-old building, which is adjacent to the garage. Several residents said workers had uprooted a tree between the street and the building within the past few months, and that a leak in the basement was being fixed. Tax records show the condo was built in 1988. Equity Residential Properties of Chicago bought it in 1998 for $36.3 million.

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