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Rescuers Search GA Garage Collapse

0630-parking-garage

ATLANTA - Emergency workers were searching the rubble of a collapsed parking garage on Tuesday to see if anyone was trapped inside, but there were still no reports of injuries or missing people.



The search through the wreckage of Monday's collapse was stalled during the night when the building shifted. It took fire crews several hours to shore up the rest of the building to continue the search. At least 35 cars were caught in the collapse.



Rescuers from several Atlanta-area fire departments resumed working their way down through the four pancaked floors early Tuesday, using thermal cameras, listening devices and search dogs.



"Overnight, I would say we have made very good progress," said Atlanta Fire Battalion Chief Steven Woodworth said.



The deck collapsed from the fourth floor to the first level around lunchtime Monday in the busy commercial district of Midtown. More than 50 firefighters rushed to the scene and the bottom level was a "huge mess of vehicles and concrete," Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran said.



Shaun Dodson was eating lunch in his truck at the far side of the building when he felt the ground shake and heard a sound like a building "being demolished."



"I ran around, saw a hole and thought the building was collapsing," Dodson said. "I'm eating lunch from now on in my office."



What caused the 7-year-old structure to collapse was not immediately known. Atlanta-based Hardin Construction, the general contractor on the deck, was one of three companies that was working at the Atlanta Botanical Garden when a pedestrian bridge collapsed in December, killing one worker and injuring 18.



Hardin Construction spokeswoman Barkley Russell confirmed the company was the general contractor on the deck and surrounding office complex. She said the majority of the deck work was done by subcontractor Metromont Corp., based in Greenville, S.C.



There are 1,415 spaces and about 35 were affected, Russell said in a statement.



"We are just thankful at this point there are no reports of injuries," Russell said.



Russell directed questions about how the deck was designed to Metromont Corp., which did not immediately return a call for comment.



Earlier this month, Hardin was fined $6,300 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the Botanical Garden bridge collapse. The agency's report concluded Hardin and another company placed two support towers too far apart, which may have caused the collapse. The company is appealing.



The parking deck was last inspected at the time it was built and cleared for occupancy in 2002, said Catherine Woodling, spokeswoman for Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. It has not had any code violations since, Woodling said.





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