Emergency Responders Describe Aftermath of NJ Transit Crash in Hoboken

Many workers from left the station nine hours after the crash.

ByABC News
September 29, 2016, 8:47 PM

Hoboken, NJ -- Emergency workers piled into a bar located a short distance from the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey to eat, rest and chat about the destruction caused by a New Jersey Transit commuter train that crashed this morning, killing one and injuring more than 100 others.

Texas Arizona, the bar, provided pizza, donuts, cake and other comfort foods to police from across New Jersey, NJ Transit employees, EMS workers and volunteer ambulance corps members.

The diverse crowd of first responders that trickled into the bar a little after 5:30 p.m., more than nine hours after the accident, were in some cases covered in soot from sorting through debris, and chatted loudly over the sounds of The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and the crackling sound of voices coming over walkie-talkies.

Some of the responders asked the bar for lotion, because the combination of the autumn chill in the air today did not mix well with rescue work that was performed in part by hand.

Mike, a New Jersey Transit worker from Hoboken, who did not give his last name, told ABC News that his "heart sank" when he first arrived at the scene of the accident, and saw the twisted beams of the historic station.

"This beautiful station is a f------ mess," he said. "I came in and the train was practically laying on its side. I lived here my whole life, and it's just such a shame to see everything ruined like it was. All the beams were mangled like you wouldn't believe."

Mike said that by his estimation, the crowd of first responders likely outnumbered the passengers who were on board of the train.

"Everyone with three letters in their name is down here," he said. "Not to mention like 4,000 cops."

Another New Jersey Transit worker from Wood-Ridge, NJ, who didn't want to give his name, speculated about the cause of the accident with other workers.

"We're going to find out soon enough when they go through the black box," he told ABC News.

He added that he had never seen any accident this bad in his years of working on trains.

"I have no idea how the hell I'm supposed to get back here tomorrow morning," he said. "But this is Jersey, we'll figure it out."

A Jersey City Police Department officer told ABC News when he arrived at the scene the historic train station suffered serious damage.

"The whole place is disfigured," he said. "It's going to be a while before things look the same again."

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