IRVING, Texas - No one was hurt when a two-story parking garage in Irving partially collapsed two different times on Tuesday.
The initial partial collapse happened about 11:30 a.m. in the 4500 block of Fuller Drive. A square portion of the second floor gave way and pancaked the cars below. An estimated 21 cars were involved, the fire department said. Video from SKY 4 showed many of them damaged or trapped under debris.
About five hours later, another section of the garage collapsed. No one was injured in either collapse, officials said. The fire department said members of its technical rescue team, along with K-9s, confirmed no one was inside any of the smashed cars.
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.
As of Tuesday evening, firefighters were calling the incident a "spontaneous collapse." It's unclear what caused a portion of the second floor to pancake down onto the first two times.
The garage is located adjacent to several physicians’ offices in a medical building. Tommy Richardson had a front row seat from his office.
“The whole section just came down at one time,” Richardson said. “A massive rumble, dust flying up. My immediate reaction was I hope nobody's in those cars down below.”
He called 911 while his colleagues raced to help, calling out to anyone who might be trapped.
“’Can you hear me? Yell if you are alive, yell if you can hear us.’ We would all get silent and nobody would move,” said Jeff Schiefelbein.
The office workers were relieved when they found out no one had been inside the garage and injured in the collapse.
Sandeep Satti’s car is stuck under the wreckage, and it’s unclear if he’ll get it back.
“I was so scared,” Satti said. “Good thing is not many people are walking around and taking their cars out. Everyone is safe.”
First responders said the timing was fortunate, as people hadn’t begun heading to their cars for the lunch hour.
“More of it could come down,” warned Irving Asst. Fire Chief J. Taylor. “It could be a domino effect at this point.”
Officials on Tuesday evening were waiting for engineers to evaluate the structure. People were not allowed to retrieve their vehicles from the garage, damaged or unharmed. It is unclear when those people will get their cars back.
The building was built in the 80s. Officials are still unsure of what caused the collapse, but OSHA is now investigating.