Partially collapsed Irving parking garage condemned by city

A partially collapsed parking garage in Irving was condemned by the city on Wednesday.

Dozens of cars were damaged Tuesday when two sections of the garage collapsed. Engineers will now determine if the structure can be salvaged or if it will be demolished.

Dozens of undamaged cars remain parked in the structure in the 4500 block of Fuller Drive. It's not known when or if the vehicle owners will get their cars back.

"I just wanna know what we’re going to do, I want to know what the plan is," said Kim Richards, whose car is parked in the structure. "I Ubered to work today, I don’t know what to do. Until then, we really don’t know what else to do. Because my car is safe? Unsafe? It’s still in one piece, but I just don’t know if they’ll be able to get to it safely."

Though the area has been deemed unsafe for the public, crews were out taking a look at the damage on Wednesday to determine if there’s a safe way to remove the vehicles or if the entire garage will need to come down.

“What can I do, I don’t want to go in there and have two tons of cement drop on my head that’s for sure,” said Rob Carey, whose car is also stuck.

The Irving Police Department released the 911 calls late Wednesday afternoon from people who witnessed part of a parking garage collapse. Several people initially thought people may have been inside.

Some people said they’re unsure if they’ll be able to file insurance claims for a rental or a new car yet because their cars are undamaged -- but trapped.

One man said his car is among those that are still trapped. He had no ride to work Wednesday morning and his insurance company told him since his car was not damaged it wouldn’t pay for a rental.

Jeannie Schmidt said her company offered to reimburse her after taking a Lyft to work. Her car is about two spaces away from where the second portion fell.

“I’m kind of like please, please don’t let there be another one,” she said.

Schmidt  is not sure when she'll be allowed to retrieve her car. 

"We have no idea. They haven't told us anything. I'm hoping when we go it, they'll at least give us some estimate of time or if they're going to give us loaner cars or if anything. Because I have two little boys,” she said. “Taking a Lyft everywhere isn't going to be an option even if they reimburse us for the cost of it."

Some companies are asking employees to keep their receipts to be reimbursed. With limited parking for the building, people are parking in the street or companies are providing shuttles for employees who have to park offsite.

A square portion of the garage gave way just before noon and pancaked the cars below. Then about five hours later, another section of the garage collapsed. About 30 cars were damaged but no one was injured in either collapse, officials said.

The second collapse happened only a short time after Irving firefighters had been escorting some drivers to their cars one by one in a safe zone in another area of the structure to retrieve their vehicles. Several of them drove away without any problem.

The property owner is now responsible for securing the site, with an agreement that all plans moving forward will be shared with the Irving Fire Department to ensure public safety.

“It’s their responsibility to deal with their private structural engineers, forensic engineers, insurance companies, but their findings, anyone going in and out of that property, they’ll let us know that,” said Irving FD Asst. Chief J. Taylor.

Inspectors in hard hats could be seen taking measurements and surveying the extent of structural failure on Wednesday.

Nelson Forensics, which investigated cracks at Allen and McKinney ISD Stadiums, confirms it’s been hired by an insurance company involved.

OSHA, which had a representative on site Tuesday, also clarified it will have no involvement moving forward, because it’s not considered a work site.

A structural engineer on site Tuesday identified two trouble spots after the primary collapse. One of them collapsed late Tuesday the afternoon as Sky 4 watched from above. Now a third collapse could be imminent.

“One of the two that he had identified is one that fell. We are amazed the other one is still up. We expect it to fall at any point,” Taylor said.

The garage was built in the 1980s. The owner, Lincoln Properties, has yet to return any calls for comment.