EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (PIX11) — A beloved old bar in East Rutherford, N.J. was demolished after workers were trapped during construction earlier on Saturday.
It just took a few seconds, and then it was a pile of rubble.
For 143 years, The Railroad Café was a fixture in town, but after a worker was trapped during renovations on Saturday afternoon, the building was demolished.
The building has a history dating back to 1880.
More than 80 rescue workers responded to reports of three trapped construction workers.
One of the workers was brought out on a stretcher after being trapped in the basement area for 120 minutes.
Rescue workers freed two construction workers from the rubble quickly with only minor injuries, but one worker suffered more severe injuries.
“Crews initially found the worker pinned by mortar and they worked, and they got him out at 3:18 pm,” John Giancaspro, the public information officer for the East Rutherford Fire Department stated.
The East Rutherford mayor said all the construction and renovation permits for the new bar, The Union, were in order. “The owners were here. They are looking at the structure and as we all know it is cheaper to build a new structure than to try to renovate this building,” Mayor Jeffrey Lahullier told PIX11 News.
Neighbors gathered on Union Avenue to watch the demolition, some with tears in their eyes.
“It is very sad. very sad, lots of memories there,” Leslie Buehler, a former bartender and patron at the Railroad Cafe, told PIX11 News.
Her friend, Lois Sciandra, also a patron at Railroad Cafe, added “We were all there. We helped each. Other. We cried with each other. It is very sad,” she added.
The injured worker was taken to Hackensack Medical Center with severe injuries to the lower half of his body.