Parking lot collapse: Nearly 50 people displaced from Penn Hills apartment building

·2 min read

The parking lot looks like it broke in half right in front of a Penn Hills apartment building, leaving over a dozen cars in a giant hole and nearly 50 people displaced.

PHOTOS: Parking lot in Penn Hills collapses

“It looked like it split straight down the middle in sort of a V-formation the whole 50 yards,” said Ronald Como, Penn Hills police chief.

Como says the Frankstown Road parking lot dropped between 15 to 20 feet shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

“When emergency vehicles responded, there was a female in a car,” Como said.

That person was Alex Bowens.

“I was backing up to park and I heard a noise,” she said. “I paused for a minute because I thought it was loud thunder, or I ran over a grate that was messed up”

In a split second, Bowens and her car fell.

“Stuff was going into my car and eyes,” she said.

Bowens got out with the help of a police office and is doing OK, but her car was not so lucky.

Now Bowens and nearly 50 others are displaced

“What am I going to do without my house?,” she asked. “At least I still have a job.”

Como told Channel 11 there was an abandoned warehouse that was accessible through the apartment that sat under the parking lot, where squatters may have been living.

Emergency crews are checking to see if there is anyone under the concrete.

The structural integrity of the building will also be checked before anyone is allowed back in, Como doesn’t have a timeline on how long that will take.

The Red Cross said they will be opening a shelter for evacuated residents.

The cause of the collapse is also under investigation.

Frankstown Road remains closed between Rodi Road and Duff Road. PennDOT is asking people to use caution in the area and consider taking a different route.

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