A portion of a multistory parking garage collapsed in Irving on Tuesday morning and just before 5 p.m., another portion fell, according to the Irving Fire Department.
Twenty-one vehicles were damaged when a 40-by-40-foot section of the garage collapsed at 11:27 a.m., according to Irving Fire Department Assistant Chief J. Taylor.
“It’s miraculous no one was hurt,” said Taylor. “Having no one killed, it’s just a power beyond us.”
Video of the second collapse at the parking garage located at O’Connor Ridge Boulevard and Fuller Drive showed at least three more lanes of the garage’s top level falling. At least three vehicles were parked in that area, but firefighters were prepared for the second collapse, according to Taylor.
“We expected it to fall at sometime,” said Taylor. “We were walking people in (assisted) one by one to get to their vehicles so they could drive them out. But the second collapse was well away from the safe area by at least 60 feet.”
Firefighters didn’t find any trapped people during their initial search after the first collapse, Taylor said.
Crews then brought rescue dogs to the scene. The dogs were able to indicate to firefighters that there were no people trapped in the debris.
No one was injured during the second collapse.
One person whose vehicle was damaged said there’s never been any indication that the garage was faulty. He said the collapse sounded like a dump truck. Some employees of nearby buildings have parked in the garage for 20 years.
Given the time of day, it was surprising that no one was near the parking garage, Taylor added.
“Everyone is at work at 11:27 in the morning. But no one was out,” said Taylor. “If it had collapsed any later it would’ve been closer to noon and lunch time. It really could have been worse, but it worked out.”
Even with the area under 24-hour security and turned back over to the management company for the garage, firefighters still fear a third portion of the garage might fail.
The corner section, about 20 by 40 feet, on the northeast side of the garage not far from the second collapse still has several vehicles on it, Taylor said.
“A piece is still standing with six cars on it that might never be safely retrieved,” said Taylor. “If the structure is deemed unrepairable they may have to implode the garage with the vehicles on it. Unless they can be removed with a crane. Maybe.”
The cause of the collapse is under investigation and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been notified. The management company has also hired a team of structural engineers to assess the parking garage, according to Taylor.