IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – Concerned and panicked calls flooded a North Texas 911 center after a parking garage in Irving gave way. Thousands of pounds of concrete and steel came down on on nearly two-dozen vehicles.
The garage collapsed just before lunchtime on Tuesday and another section of the structure gave way a few hours later.
No civilians or first responders were injured, but at the time, when floods of 911 calls were made, no one knew for sure.
“The parking garage next to us just had a collapse of a floor,” one man told a 911 operator. “It’s down on some cars and I don’t know if anybody is in there.”
Now there are calls for change to make sure a similar potential catastrophe never happens again. First responders are leading the charge for more regulation.
According to fire officials, there are currently no laws requiring parking garage inspections beyond when they are initially built. The Irving Fire Department says there a good chance the garage at the O’Connor Ridge Office Park hadn’t been inspected in 40 years.
“I think it’s imperative and it’s something that’s needed because we want to try everything we can to be proactive [and] make everyone safe,” said Irving Fire Department Asst. Chief J. Taylor.
Some areas of Irving are said to have “volatile soil” which could lead to ground shifts of just an inch or two, or nearly two-feet from season to season.
Structural engineers hired by the property owner inspected the garage Wednesday but the area still remains closed off.
While some people who work in the area were able to get their vehicles out in the panicked moments after the first collapse, Becky Welch’s truck was too close to the danger zone. “I’m just in limbo with the truck not damaged or anything I can’t turn it in to my insurance company, so it’s just a waiting game at this point,” she said.
It is now up to the garage owner to decide how, when or if the vehicles remaining inside will be removed.
The exact cause of the collapse is still unknown.