Folding table attached to wall collapses at school; boy dies

NEW MILFORD, N.J. (AP) – A folding table attached to a wall collapsed at a school during a recreational soccer practice, killing a 7-year-old boy preparing for his season opener, officials said.

Brenden Jordan, a student at Gibbs Elementary School in New Milford, was attending an indoor recreation soccer program at the town’s Berkley Street Elementary School on Wednesday night when he came near a fold-down table and benches stored in the wall.

The table fell open and the child was struck by a bench, Detective Lt. Frank Ramaci said in a news release. It’s not yet known whether the boy touched the table.

School Superintendent Michael Polizzi told The Record newspaper that the table folds vertically into the wall and has benches attached to both sides. It is secured with a key.

Polizzi said he didn’t know if it had been properly locked.

He said the tables have been in “good working condition,” and the school has never had a problem with them since they were installed about 11 years ago.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned in 2012 of the potential safety risk of the tables, saying it had received reports of several deaths and injuries in schools when the tables tipped over. It warned that most accidents happened during afterschool or during nonschool activities and warned schools to not allow children to move the tables or play with them.

“It’s a tremendous loss for all of us, a shock for the family especially,” Polizzi said. “I can’t imagine the void the family will feel.

John Bigger, the recreation director for New Milford, told The Record that the boy was a member of the borough’s indoor soccer team and was with a group of six 7- and 8-year-old children practicing for their Sunday opener. He said practices in the gym were suspended for a few days while it is inspected, and he doesn’t know if the team will play Sunday.

Grief counselors were made available at both schools.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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