A man in East Rutherford, New Jersey fell into a sinkhole while working in a warehouse on Monday, May 21. The Maple Street warehouse stores food products.
It was while working a forklift in the warehouse that the man fell into a sinkhole that measured 40-by-40-feet. The sinkhole had formed underneath the floor of the loading dock.
According to a report on the incident published by NJ.com on Monday, the man only sustained minor injuries. Assistant Fire Chief John Giancaspro said that authorities in the East Rutherford area are busy looking for answers as to why the large sinkhole appeared under the warehouse floor.
By the time firefighters arrived on the scene -- around 12:30 pm -- the man had already escaped the sinkhole on his own. Building officials came to the scene around 2 p.m., after the firefighters had evacuated the facility. The officials were busy determining which parts of the establishment were still safe.
It is also speculated that had it not been for the forklift, Rodriguez may not have survived the fall.
"Fortunately for the operator, the forklift went straight down and didn't tip to the side because then he could have really been hurt," Police Chief Larry Minda said in an article published by The Record.
"He's the best forklift driver we have," AM Express Freight administrator Sarah Entena said about Rodriqguez. "The forklift protected him. And thank God for that."
The unit of the East Rutherford warehouse in which the sinkhole appeared will remain closed while officials continue to determine what it was that caused the incident. A construction supervisor will also be making assessments as to how the building can be made safer for workers who will hopefully be back at their posts soon.
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