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What Caused 7-Year-Old Parking Garage in Atlanta to Collapse?

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Atlanta, GAA multi-level parking garage no more than 7 years old has collapsed in Atlanta, destroying numerous vehicles. So far, officials on the scene combing through the debris have not found any bodies or survivors. There have been no reports of missing persons thus far in the building collapse, according to reports from the Associated Press (AP).

DebrisHowever, as of noon Tuesday authorities had not finished searching the debris. AP reported that the structure had at one point begun to shift after the initial collapse and firefighters had to stabilize the remaining building before searchers go could back in using listening devices and thermal cameras to look for bodies, or seek out survivors.

According to the AP report the parkade was located in the busy commercial district of Midtown. Eyewitness Shaun Dodson was eating his lunch in his truck parked at the far side of the structure when, according to comments he made to an AP reporter, he felt the ground shake and heard sounds that reminded him of a building "being demolished."

The collapse destroyed 38 vehicles in its wake. Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran described to AP a "huge mess of vehicles and concrete" after more than 50 firefighters rushed to the scene of the devastation in Atlanta yesterday.

The entire garage did not collapse—but the part that did was devastating to the 38 vehicles in its path. The parkade, in total, has spaces for 1,415 vehicles.

It is not known what caused the collapse of the relatively young structure. However, AP reported that the same company which served as the general contractor on the parkade deck was one of three companies working at the Atlanta Botanical Garden when a pedestrian bridge collapsed in December. In that disaster a worker was killed and 18 people were injured.

A spokeswoman for Hardin Construction, Barkley Russell, confirmed to AP that the company had, indeed been involved as the general contractor on the deck and surrounding office complex. However, Russelle told AP that another company acting as a subcontractor carried out the majority of the work on the parking deck.

Metromont Corp., the subcontractor on the parkade, is based in Greenville, South Carolina.

According to the AP report the parking garage had not been inspected since it was built and cleared for occupancy in 2002. Meanwhile Hardin had been fined $6,300 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with regard to the Botanical Garden bridge collapse. According to AP, the agency concluded that Hardin and another company had placed two support towers too far apart.

The placement of the towers may have played a factor in the bridge collapse.

As for the parkade collapse yesterday, firefighters are still combing the substantial debris, looking for either bodies, or survivors.

The investigation continues.



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