March 28, 2014
Parking Garage Collapses In Los Angeles, 180 Workers Race To Escape

A parking garage collapsed in Los Angeles on Friday, sending workers scurrying and delaying traffic along a heavily congested area.

The garage was under construction when a section the measured approximately 50 feet by 75 feet came down. A fire department spokesman said the second floor of the parking garage collapsed onto the first floor, and at the time rescue workers were unsure if there were any construction workers still inside.

A frantic search of the debris showed that all workers had gotten out safely.

"Fortunately we have heard that all workers have been accounted for," said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott.

The parking garage collapse could have been much worse, authorities said. Just minutes before the collapse there were 180 people working on the structure, noted Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman.

"Workers were pouring concrete in the upper parking deck of the northeast corner of the building," Littman said. "During construction we had pour watchers from below notice something was amiss. They immediately alerted workers to clear the area."

The parking garage is located along a three-block construction site to the west side of the Los Angeles River. Authorities said it is a high density, heavily congested area located near county jails and a transit plaza.

Other parking garage collapses in the past have been more damaging. In 2012, a garage at West Miami-Dade College in Florida came down during construction. The garage fell in a pancake-style collapse, trapping several workers and killing three.

"It was a floor upon floor, collapsing all the way down to the ground floor," said Miami-Dade fire rescue captain Louie Fernandez at the time of the collapse.

The parking garage collapse Friday in Los Angeles was limited to a corner of the structure. Authorities said they are still trying to determine the cause of the collapse.