7-year-old boy killed by falling bench at NJ school

7-Year-Old Boy Killed by Falling Bench at School

NEW MILDFORD, N.J. (PIX11) -- Police say it's not criminal, but tragic.

Seven-year-old Brendan Jordan of New Milford was killed Wednesday night after a 108-pound bench crashed down on top of him at Berkley Elementary School.

7-year-old boy killed by falling bench at NJ school
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7-year-old boy killed by falling bench at NJ school

"Its not conclusive why the bench fell down," said Det. Lt. Frank Ramaci at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

New Milford Police say the boy was chasing a soccer ball at an indoor team practice when the incident occurred around 6:30 p.m.

In the room with him was his coach Bryan Mone, who is also a New Milford police officer. Mone tried to resuscitate the boy, but he died about an hour later at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Police say the falling bench does have a lock and a safety latch, but it remains unclear if it was properly secured.

Police were stationed outside the school Thursday. Crime scene tape was still strewn around the side of the building.

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is also investigating the incident. The federal agency has issued warnings in the past about the danger of mobile folding tables and benches commonly found in schools.

"The tall heavy tables can tip-over and seriously injure or kill a child," states the CPSC advisory.

Altogether, a mobile folding table and benches can weigh up to 350 pounds, according to the CPSC.

Outside the school this morning, some parents came to pick up their children when they heard the news.

"Apparently something happened at the school around 7 o'clock last night and the child died. And by 8 o'clock this morning the school hadn't gotten around to notifying the parents," said Jill Hendrickson of New Milford. She said the district should have told families what happened sooner. She pulled her 10-year-old son out of school today to tell him the news.

When asked about the falling bench, Hendrickson said: "I've seen them at meetings they don't look very safe. I figured they had locks on them but maybe somebody forgot to lock it."

Town officials say the gym has been closed indefinitely as the investigations continue. Mayor Ann Subrizi was unsure if other schools in the district have similar folding tables. She asked that the family's privacy be respected, as they grieve for their little boy.

"If New Milford has any track record on things like this," said Subrizi, "there will certainly be a groundswell of support for this family."

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