Brendan Jordan, 7, was chasing a soccer ball inside the gym at Berkley Street Elementary School in New Milford, NJ, Wednesday night when a freak accident took his life. Somehow, a wood-and-steel bench that weighed more than 100 pounds broke free from the wall and hit the boy, killing him, the Record reports. Brendan, a student at another local school, was a member of an indoor soccer team; practice was about to start at 6:30pm when the ball rolled near the table. Berkley Street also uses the gym as a cafeteria, and the fold-down tables and benches are stored vertically in the wall. Typically, they're secured with a key, and authorities don't know whether this one was properly secured or whether Brendan perhaps touched it. Only the left bench fell, while the table and the right bench remained in the wall.
The bench apparently hit his head and he immediately collapsed; someone reportedly saw him trapped beneath the bench and ran to lift it off. The coach, an off-duty police officer, performed CPR as parents called 911, but Jordan was pronounced dead around 7:30pm at a nearby medical center. The gym is closed through at least the weekend as officials investigate. The Record notes that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has heard of several child deaths related to the tables, most of which occurred while they were being moved. In at least one other similar incident, a foldaway table fell away from a wall in Massachusetts, killing a 4-year-old boy in 2000. "They don't look very safe," a parent whose child attends Berkley Street tells News 12. "I've never been comfortable with them." (A 2-year-old boy died in San Francisco when a dolphin statue fell on him.)