LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Lakewood's mayor said Friday a construction company was on-site when an apartment building's parking garage collapsed Thursday morning along the city's Gold Coast.
Mayor Meghan George added that the city had not issued any building permits for work at Marine Towers West Apartments, even though it was likely work would have required them.
"It's very concerning," said George. "I mean we're talking about property damage today but if this was earlier in the day we could be talking about loss of life."
Lakewood's fire chief said the top level of the building's parking garage appeared to collapse onto the lower level of the garage in what he described as a "pancake collapse," around 9:40 a.m. Thursday.
Crews worked until 2 a.m. Friday removing debris and crushed cars from the parking garage allowing search and rescue teams to confirm no one was trapped in the debris.
"We really had a Christmas miracle yesterday," said George.
Residents of the apartments were allowed to return home Friday afternoon after structural engineers found no additional problems with the building.
According to county records, the 17-story, 171-unit building was built in 1963.
The mayor said the city is investigating what went wrong causing the collapse.
"It feels surreal," said Fatemeh Pisheavian who lives on the building's 12th floor. "I can't help thinking someone could have been there at the time it happened. There's always someone walking in that part of the garage."
Management of Marine Towers West has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment since Thursday's collapse.