JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Georgia-based contractor built the Riverside parking garage that partially collapsed Tuesday. Action News Jax discovered that Batson-Cook was also the company building an Atlanta garage that partially collapsed in 2020.
According to the City of Jacksonville’s inspections page, the permit was granted in 2005.
Batson-Cook opened its first regional office in Jacksonville in 1957 and now has construction projects that span the southeast with everything from schools to apartments.
In a statement, a representative said, “Batson-Cook has not worked on this project since 2007 and, as Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Keith Powers has already stated, the inspection and continued upkeep of the parking structure are the responsibility of the owner. We are and will continue to assist with this investigation. We stand by our work and our safety practices. We’d also like to extend our thanks to the first responders who, as this incident showed, rush to keep people safe daily.”
Action News Jax reached out to St. Vincent’s for the last inspection report, but so far, we have not heard back. We also asked what the hospital is telling patients and staff whose cars are still stuck inside the garage. But so far, we have not received an answer.
“Whenever we see these kind of failures for infrastructure — what comes to our mind is ‘what is the cause of this?’,” Adel Elsafty, a civil engineering professor at UNF, said.
He said it could take a few days for structural engineers to inspect the entire garage and then securing it could take at least a week before anyone can get back in. In the meantime, a block surrounding the garage is still taped off.
“Any structure that is connected to another structure. You don’t know exactly the impact,” he said.
He added that the details of the latest inspection report could be the clue as to what caused the partial collapse.
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