Author Topic: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING  (Read 7837 times)

Offline BLeafe

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PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« on: July 16, 2010, 12:45:28 pm »
http://www.northjersey.com/news/bergen/071610_Parking_garage_collapses_in_Hackensack.html



HACKENSACK -- The fire department is searching for two missing people in a collapsed parking garage at Prospect Towers, an 18-story apartment building.

Family members told police the two missing residents were leaving the building at 300 Prospect Ave. when the garage collapsed.  They are feared entrapped in the garage.





The above-ground portion of the garage, the glass atrium of the building, and a winding drive into the garage came crashing down onto the garages two underground levels, police said. It is unclear what caused the collapse.

Ben Feldman, a spokesman for the Bergen County Sheriffs Department, said he saw three cars that were parked on the winding drive that had plunged into the underground garage.

Residents as high as the 18th-story of the building felt it shake for a full three minutes before the collapse.

I thought it was an earthquake or a plane hit," said Chris Baldo, a first-floor resident. "It sounded like the whole building was collapsing. I grabbed my dog and my mom and ran out. I looked outside and watched everything go down."

The building and the building next door at 310 Prospect Ave. are being evacuated. Police believe about 100 people live in each of the high-rises.

Prospect Avenue between Central Avenue and Passaic Street has been closed. People who live in the area are being asked to stay away; parking will be provided for them at the high school. Bus shuttles will be provided later in the day from the high school to the building.

Stephen Lo Iacono, the city manager, said city engineers are on the scene to determine whether the building is structurally sound.

Police Capt. Tomas Padilla said he is evaluating whether the police will need to use the Civic Center as a shelter later for residents.

It looks like if you have kids playing with some blocks and they just fell down, Padilla said.

Police are asking for residents still inside the building to call police headquarters at 201-646-7777. Residents on the scene are being directed to 280 Prospect Ave. where police officers are trying to determine whether everyone is safe.

The 18-story apartment building is on 1.6 acres at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Golf Place. Built in 1988, the apartment tower is owned by ERP Operating LP of Chicago, tax records show. The company, known as Equity Residential, operates apartment buildings in 21 states across the country and in Washington, D.C., according to its website. 

Equity Residential Properties of Chicago bought the building in 1998 for $36.3 million, according to property records.



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« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 12:56:11 pm by BLeafe »


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Offline BLeafe

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Re: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2010, 04:28:13 pm »
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Offline just watching

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Re: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 05:30:17 pm »

Unbelievable.

Just wait till the lawsuits come out on this one.  They will make the case for shoddy construction. And guess who will be one of the defendants, the CITY OF HACKENSACK building department.

You know, the building was "built" in 1988, but it sat vacant for over 10 years until it was finished around 2000. You can't let a building sit vacant and expect no deterioration.

Offline Homer Jones

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Re: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2010, 10:26:08 pm »
Yes,everybody will be brought into the litigation that will evolve after the collapse today; but, the evidence I saw at the site this afternoon suggests that neither the original construction nor the time that the building was vacant bear relevance to the cause of this tragedy. More recent activity at the site is  likely the cause.

Offline Editor

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Re: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2010, 10:54:15 pm »
Glad no one was hurt. 

Some video:

1] Parking garage collapse (2010-07-16) http://www.video-alerts.com/video-watch/2857?vid=_B2-DPrWBjA
2] PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSES IN NEW JERSEY 7-16-2010 (2010-07-16) http://www.video-alerts.com/video-watch/2857?vid=0puOBKtqBxM
3] Raw Video: New Jersey Parking Garage Collapses (2010-07-16) http://www.video-alerts.com/video-watch/2857?vid=i037VLJ3VSA

Offline Editor

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Parking Garage Collapse, Prospect
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2010, 09:16:24 pm »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/f1kT8gaVBjI&amp;color1=0xb1b1b1&amp;color2=0xd0d0d0&amp;hl=en_US&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;fs=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/f1kT8gaVBjI&amp;color1=0xb1b1b1&amp;color2=0xd0d0d0&amp;hl=en_US&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;fs=1</a>

Residents of Hackensack high-rise won't be back until at least November
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Last updated: Wednesday July 28, 2010, 12:23 AM
BY MONSY ALVARADO
The Record
STAFF WRITER

Displaced tenants of a Hackensack high-rise where a garage collapsed will not be able to move back into their apartments until at least Nov. 15, a city official said Tuesday.

They have a lot of work to do, said City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono. From our point of view, we have to make sure everything is done properly.

State Sen. Gerald Cardinale said Tuesday night that he plans to introduce legislation that would require engineers to notify city and state officials of any structural damage they find in buildings or their garages.

I do believe something has to be done to ensure that people who live in my district are not going to be subjected to this, said Cardinale, R-Demarest. His district does not include Hackensack.
 
Cardinale announced his plans at a meeting attended by more than 100 residents of Prospect Towers who were looking for answers from the owners of the building, Equity Residential. But representatives from the company did not attend the meeting, which was organized by Sam Davis, an attorney who is representing a half-dozen tenants.

Earlier in the day, Lo Iacono said he met with representatives from Equity Residential and they said it would take months to get the 18-story building ready for residents.

Lo Iacono said besides removing debris and reconstructing areas sections of the garage, the building needs electrical and plumbing work. He said when the garage collapsed for a second time the day after the initial collapse, water service to the building was interrupted.

Tenant Chris Baldo has been staying at the Hilton in Hasbrouck Heights with his dogs since the collapse. He said he was in shock to hear that he would have to wait until November to return home.

I didnt think it would be that long, but then again, I dont want to go back to a place that is not safe, he said.

Karen Greaney, who lives in the top floor of the building, said she expects the repairs to take longer.

I think thats a very aggressive date, she said. Id like to know what Im supposed to do between now and then.

Marty McKenna, spokesman for Equity Residential, did not return calls Tuesday.

The meeting was held in the auditorium of the Hekemian Conference Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. During the meeting, Davis showed a presentation that contained information gathered by the attorney about the parking garage and the possible causes of the collapse, and also pictures of tenants being evacuated from the building.

It is horrible what people went through in that building, Davis said, adding that he plans to file suits on behalf of his clients. It was horrible and avoidable

The cause of the collapse still needs to be determined, but some residents are blaming a water leak in the garage that dates back several months. Engineering reports sent to the management company earlier this year show that the water leak may have contributed to some damage to the parking garage. City officials said they did not know about the leak and were not notified of the engineering reports.

During the meeting, Davis said that during talks with several people, including one of the engineers who inspected the garage a few months ago, he discovered that cracking in the parking garage was first reported in 2005. He also said that two 30-foot steel beams were installed in the garage in 2005.

The more than 300 residents who live in the building have been staying at area hotels or with family and friends since the initial collapse on July 16. Lo Iacono said Equity Residential has indicated they will continue to provide rooms at area hotels for residents who need them.

Meanwhile, residents of 310 Prospect Ave., an adjacent mid-rise building that shares the garage, received an e-mail on Monday from Equity Residential saying if they were interested in terminating their leases that the property owner would waive any fees or charges.

If you are anticipating moving out, we respectfully request that you let us know your intentions before August 31, 2010, the e-mail reads.

Peter Thiele, who has lived in the building for nearly three years, said he doesnt know what hes going to do. He said he likes the location of the building and that its pet friendly, but he is concerned about the cave-in and its impact on the remaining structures.

Weve been discussing it a little bit, and part of us are very scared about the building, but part of us doesnt want to move, he said.

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com

Offline Editor

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Re: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 12:01:58 am »
Another video posted on 8/22/10 showing the garage debris removed.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/MIqUCpGe7MA?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/MIqUCpGe7MA?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US</a>
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 12:03:38 am by Editor »

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Re: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 08:31:56 am »
$594,000 price tag placed on July garage collapse in Hackensack
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Last updated: Thursday September 16, 2010, 6:04 AM
BY MONSY ALVARADO
The Record
STAFF WRITER

The parking garage collapse in Hackensack this summer cost the city and several other agencies that responded to the emergency $594,017 and municipal officials are seeking to recoup the funds from the property owner.

Meanwhile, an attorney representing several residents affected by the collapse has filed the first of what he says will be several lawsuits against the landlord.

The city's bill, sent to Equity Residential earlier this month, includes the cost of overtime; damaged, destroyed and purchased equipment; and expenses incurred by other police and fire departments while they helped search for victims in the rubble. Hackensack also states in the letter it will submit additional bills for ongoing work at the site.

"All those costs are backed up and I think certainly we should be paid for everything it cost to run that operation," said City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono.

Mayor Karen Sasso called the collapse an "extraordinary event," and said taxpayers shouldn't have to bear the expense.

"We had to maintain emergency presence for weeks, and the other towns also responded," Sasso said. "It's a large expense to the taxpayers" if they are not reimbursed.

Marty McKenna, spokesman for Equity Residential, said the company's insurance claims adjuster received the letter, and said the municipality will get paid."It's either going to be the insurance company or us," McKenna said.

Displaced residents of Prospect Towers, the 18-story luxury building attached to the garage, have since relocated to new homes or temporary apartments until repairs to the building are completed.

"No one was planning for this, and it's a move no one was anticipating," said Lillian Cooper, who is temporarily staying at the nearby Excelsior apartments. "I wish it had never happened, but honestly speaking, I'm doing better now than I was two weeks ago, because I know I'm not going to be here permanently."

Two months have passed since the July 16 cave-in of the underground garage and a 20-foot-long steel plexiglass canopy, bringing emergency personnel throughout the state to the scene. A 22-hour search and rescue was called off after officials determined no one was trapped in the debris.

A day after, a second collapse in the garage occurred, which cut water, gas and electrical lines to the high-rise, ensuring that tenants would not be able to return to their homes for some time.

Hours after the initial collapse, some residents were escorted and allowed to retrieve medication and their pets, and not much more. Most spent more than a month at area hotels, paid for by Equity Residential.

Since then, parts of the parking garage have been demolished and debris from the site continues to be removed. McKenna said even though the high-rise should be ready for occupation in mid-November, the parking garage isn't expected to be complete until March. The city is also requiring Equity to submit a parking plan that would show where tenants will park when they return to their units. McKenna said valet parking will be available.

The cause of the collapse is not known, but Lo Iacono said he asked Equity Residential to submit a "cause and origin" report that he said the company's engineers are compiling. McKenna said the investigation in continuing. "That has not been completed," he said.
Residents have faulted a water leak in the garage as the cause. Sam Davis, a Teaneck attorney who says he has a half-dozen clients who lived in the building and adjacent mid-rise, filed a lawsuit in Bergen County Superior Court on Wednesday on behalf of Barrington and CanDice Hibbert, who had lived in the mid-rise since November. The civil lawsuit names Equity Residential as a defendant, claiming the company knew of problems in the garage, and ignored their own engineer's recommendations. Instead, the suit claims, Equity opted for a stop-gap measure to shore up the "sagging structure and cracks on two foundation columns" on the second level. The company installed two steel beams supported by temporary steel columns back in 2005, the suit says.

"The underlying facts are that they obviously knew about this condition for at least five years, and what did they do about it before this collapse occurred?" Davis asked Wednesday. "For all appearances, they did nothing but a makeshift repair."

The lawsuit also claims that cracks continue to be seen in the structural cement, and that Equity Residential failed to disclose to tenants the safety hazards in the building. The Hibberts, both members of the National Guard and parents to four minor children, are seeking compensatory damages, and legal fees.

Two engineering reports, written months before the collapse, also note problems with water leakage. One report by Rudy Vazquez of Flex Engineering in Union City found that water was penetrating a concrete slab in the parking garage and the engineer noted that the problem could cause a collapse.

McKenna declined to comment on the engineering reports and said he was not aware of the suit.

More than 35 percent of tenants have moved out of the tower, according to McKenna. He said the 160-unit building lost about 60 renters and their families. He said the remaining 100 leaseholders were either temporarily moved to the nearby mid-rise owned by the company, or other buildings in the area. Equity Residential paid for the moving costs.
He did not know how many residents moved out of the mid-rise building, which contains 200 units, and shares the garage.

Stephen and Michelle Zone, who had lived on the tower's eighth floor for nearly two years, said they didn't think long about what they planned to do.

"I knew standing in the front lawn the day it happened I was not going to go back," said Michelle Zone. "I thought, why should I trust them?"

The Zones said they spent about a month and a half in hotels. Equity Residential then hired movers to pack and transport their belongings to an apartment they found in Englewood. They said although management was helpful, they didn't want to deal with the inconveniences of living in a place temporarily."I didn't want to live in limbo," Stephen Zone said.

But their friends, Debi and Gary Presslaff, made a different choice. Besides its convenient location to New York, the Presslaffs said their apartment is only minutes from Debi's 89-year-old mother's home. The couple, who may move out of the state in a few years, decided that they would stick it out.

"We are banking on the fact that it's going to be the safest building in Hackensack," Debi Presslaff said.While they wait, the couple moved into a two-bedroom furnished apartment in the mid-rise. Equity Residential is allowing the Presslaffs, like others who temporarily relocated, to pay half their rent. Tenants were also reimbursed rent for two weeks in July, and did not have to make payments in August.

Debi Presslaff and Cooper say they hope to go back home soon, but said with all the work that seems to be incomplete, the November return date doesn't seem feasible.
"I don't think I'll be buying a turkey," Debi Presslaff said as she sat in the living room surrounded by her two dogs and the Zones. "I just don't think I'm going to be back by Thanksgiving."

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 10:08:58 pm by Editor »

Offline Editor

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Re: PARKING GARAGE COLLAPSE AT 300 PROSPECT, 2 MISSING
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2011, 11:07:21 am »
Senate approves legislation to aide against building collapses
Last updated: Friday October 21, 2011, 1:31 AM
BY MARK J. BONAMO
MANAGING EDITOR
Hackensack Chronicle

A bill designed to prevent catastrophic building collapses such as the one that took place in Hackensack last year has passed the New Jersey state Senate.

The bill, which passed by a 33-5 margin on Sept. 26, requires that an owner of a multi-level building who requests that an architect or an engineer conduct an assessment of the structural safety of a building, in which a problem is discovered, must immediately notify the clerk of the municipality where the structure is located. The owner must also officially notify the state Department of Community Affairs.

The bill also mandates that the potentially distressed building must then be inspected within 72 hours of notification. The construction code official who performs the inspection must then inform the municipality's mayor, police department, and emergency management coordinator if any imminent danger exists and advise them if the building or structure should be evacuated.

Senator Bob Gordon (D-Fair Lawn), who sponsored the bill, believes that the legislation will address one of the allegations arising from last year's collapse that warnings about structural problems with the parking garage adjacent to the Prospect Towers high-rise apartments on Prospect Avenue were not heeded months before the July 2010 collapse.

"It is mind-boggling that even after structural issues were identified in numerous engineering reports forwarded to the management company, the problems were left unaddressed," said Gordon. "If a process had been in place to immediately alert state or local officials of the situation, this catastrophe could have been averted."

According to a New Jersey state Senate Democrats' press release, engineering reports issued in March and May 2010 pointed to problems in the parking garage's structure that should have been addressed.

At the time of the July collapse, city officials stated that they were not informed about the engineering reports. More than 300 residents of the 18-story luxury apartment building were displaced after the incident.

"Whether or not fixing the structural problems was intentionally put on the back-burner by the management company, the parking garage collapse made it utterly clear that an additional layer of oversight is needed to ensure the safety of residents," said Gordon. "Implementing a system that provides additional oversight by state and municipal officials will make it more likely that safety issues will be promptly addressed, and, hopefully, prevent another catastrophic building collapse like the one that occurred this summer."

E-mail: bonamo@northjersey.com

 

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