by David Greene
Automobile owners who parked their vehicles at a public indoor parking garage in Bedford Park have been anxiously awaiting news if their vehicles were destroyed, after a large section of the second floor collapsed and pancaked onto the first floor.
Police, fire and paramedics were dispatched to Dr. Parking, located at 3000 Jerome Avenue near Bedford Park Boulevard, at just after 6 a.m. on Sunday, February 19.
Officials say worker’s were able to escape and no injuries were reported. Investigators from the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Buildings (DOB) were investigating.
Ironically, a satellite office for the City of New York Department of Design and Construction Infrastructure Resident Engineer’s Field Office is next door to the collapsed building.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported Number 4 Trains were running at a reduced speed past the area to prevent any further collapse, causing subway delays in both directions for several hours.
One church on the block was forced to cancel Sunday service.
Vehicle owners were kept back by metal barricades manned by several police officers. Several owners were able to get their vehicles like James, a Rhode Island man who runs an electronic business in New York.
James finally drove his Isuzu Rodeo out of the garage Sunday evening, he recalled, “I left my car here last night. The car is fine, nothing happened to my car. They didn’t tell me anything, but they just released my car according to the police officers instructions.”
James added, “Yes, I regularly park here with no problems. But the building collapsed, it was a building infrastructure problem, this building may be a hundred years old or more. I wasted half of my morning, but it’s OK.”
By nightfall Edmond, a Bedford Park resident was still not sure of the fate of his 2007 Audi. He angrily explained, “I still don’t know if my car is fine or what. No, I don’t know. I just came an hour ago to pick up my car and I saw the police and they told me what happened.”
Officials from the DOB issued a full vacate order for the building and have ordered the building’s owner to stabilize the building or demolish it.
The garage had 100 parking spots and charged $11 per day or $225 for the month.
According to DOB records, the building has complaints or violations dating back to 1940 and currently has 11 complaints with one open violation. In 2003 the owner was sited for having parking attendants fix a hole in the concrete. In 2010 Con Edison reported stray voltage was coming from a window guard, and in 2012 the owner paid a $1,500 fine for “failure to certify correction of (an) immediate hazardous condition.”
One resident who lives around the corner on Villa Avenue pointed to a former 2-story home at 3042 Villa Avenue, that was demolished a month ago, as a possible cause for the collapse at the parking garage.