Authorities called off a 22-hour rescue mission at a partly collapsed parking garage Saturday after determining that no one had been trapped when a glass canopy attached to a high-rise condominium building fell the day before, a fire official said.

"We are looking at it as a major tragedy that was averted," Hackensack Fire Department Lt. Stephen Lindner said late Saturday morning.

Officials said rescuers dug through debris overnight to reach the vehicles feared to contain occupants. But when searchers got to the cars early Saturday, Lindner said they didn't find anyone inside.

Another partial collapse occurred around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, but no injuries were reported. Crews were removed from the site after that collapse and, as a precaution, the cleanup work was suspended until at least Sunday.

"We anticipated this section was going to come down and we tried to shore it up prior to that happening, but unfortunately gravity won again," Hackensack Deputy Fire Chief Matt Wagner said Saturday afternoon.

The three-story garage in Hackensack pancaked Friday morning when the canopy fell on it. The top of the garage, level with the street, was littered with dirt, debris and glass, and the pavement split into chunks.

Rescuers needed to clear debris and shore up the structure before attempting a rescue. Both cars had their flashers on during the rescue operation, leading to reports that people may have been inside, Lindner said.

But no one was in the car on the first level down, and it was determined that no one in the car on the lower level, either. Lindner said the force of the collapse likely knocked the cars around, causing their flashers to activate.

It may be up to a week before residents — who were evacuated as a precaution — will be allowed to return to the building. Engineers continue to assess the building's structure.

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