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Roof of Garage Collapses in Queens, NY


The roof of an underground parking garage in Queens, NY collapsed onto about 20 cars last month, injuring one man who was trapped inside, fire officials said. The garage is surrounded by an apartment building complex in the Rego Park section of the borough.
The man, believed to be a valet worker, was rescued from the garage by emergency workers, and was in stable condition while being treated for multiple trauma injuries. About 150 firefighters responded to the scene, digging through the garage in search of people trapped inside, said Paul Iannizzotto, a fire department spokesman. No other victims were found.
The cause of the collapse was under investigation, officials said, but later reports said that the collapse may have been related to construction on a building nearby.
Commenting on this, the Parking Market Research Company noted that although we don't know the reason for the problem in this case, deferred maintenance has been a problem over the past decade. People just aren't doing it.
Concrete garages begin to deteriorate at about 11 years, but the age at which they are actually being repaired is about 19 years. The industry seems to be out of sync, says PMRC. At times when garage repair and maintenance is needed, it is deferred. This increases the costs to the owner substantially, and leaves the project open to potential major structural problems. There is some indication that this issue is more prevalent in the private sector.
In the last decade, some cities have begun a mandatory garage inspection program. If you don't pass, you must either repair or close.

Article Abstract from May, 2003




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