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Resident left vehicle moments before partial collapse of parking deck at Parma apartment building

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Posted at 6:35 AM, May 04, 2022

PARMA, Ohio — An investigation is underway after an above-ground parking deck partially collapsed late Tuesday at an apartment building in Parma.

At approximately 11:45 p.m., firefighters and rescue teams responded to 5800 Laurent Drive where part of a parking deck collapsed into the sub-level of the garage. Nicholas Schultz, who's lived at the Regency Apartments since February, heard his neighbor pull into the above-ground lot and park near his car shortly before a massive hole opened beneath both vehicles.

"They rolled in and then I kept hearing noises, thinking they were messing with my vehicle. I came outside more or less to investigate and it turns out it wasn’t them. It was the structure crumbling and eventually falling,” Schultz said.

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All four wheels of both cars were suspended in the hole, with the bumpers keeping them from falling into the lower level after the collapse.

“As of now I feel stranded," Schultz said.

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Parma firefighters respond to partial garage collapse.

Parma Fire Dept. public information officer T.J. Martin said, “They’re probably still drive-able. But they’re going to have to find a way to lift those cars out of there and move them off the site. And then they can work on determining the cause and origin of the collapse.”

He said the crumbling asphalt broke through the garage's sprinkler system and began filling the lower level with water. When police and fire crews arrived, immediate efforts were made to ensure the above-ground parking deck was secured.

“We’re very thankful there were no injuries or loss of life because the potential could have been worse,” Martin said.

Firefighters and police officers removed all the vehicles, impact and dead loads from the parking deck to prevent further collapse.

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Scene of a parking garage collapse at Regency Apartments in Parma.

People who live in the building told News 5 they felt fortunate the collapse happened when most of the neighbors were in bed, but said the incident made them concerned about the safety of the property.

“You kind of look at the building and [think] it might need a little TLC. I guess this event here just backs up that theory,” said Marcus Mayfield.

Martin said the Parma Fire Department's records show the parking garage was up to code and passed its most recent safety inspections. He also explained the collapse did not compromise the integrity of the residential buildings.

“Thankfully it was just the garage and not the building. But it’s just a bad situation all around,” Schultz said.

No residents, responding firefighters or police were injured, although Schultz and the car that parked next to his had a close call.

"We were very fortunate that this incident did not result in any loss of life or injury. One of the residents whose vehicle was impacted had only recently returned to his residence where seconds later the parking deck collapsed," said Parma Fire Chief Michael Lasky in a news release.

Video shared by the department on Facebook shows heavy flooding on the lower level of the garage.

Parking deck partially collapses in Parma

The Parma Fire Department will work with building officials, engineers and the owner of the property to avoid further collapse.

News 5 reached out to the property owner of the apartment complex, but has not heard back.

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