NewsLEX 18 Investigates


Some had safety concerns over Lexington parking garage before collapse

Posted at 6:08 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 19:13:02-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lots of questions remain as to why a downtown parking garage partially collapsed last Thursday morning. It's a concrete and steel structure designed to hold the weight of vehicles. The garage was empty when it crumbled with only snow and ice on the top deck and one lucky contractor who was plowing and escaped injury.

Some people have reached out to LEX 18 to say they had safety concerns about the garage in early 2018 when it belonged to another company. Alison Thompson who works downtown is one of those people.

"I was like 'there are some serious cracks here.' Again, I'm not an engineer, it didn't seem like that was something that should be in a parking structure," said Thompson.

She sent us photos of damage she noticed in February of 2018.

"When I saw the crumbling on the corner of the building and saw the major crack on the corner pillar to me it seemed to be systemic of something that was going on internally throughout the structure," said Thompson. "When I saw those cracks after I photographed them, I never parked underneath there."

Parking garage crack 1.jpg

Thompson said she called Lexington Code Enforcement to report her concern.

"I was told it was not their jurisdiction," says Thompson.

Alex Olszowy, the Director of Code Enforcement, told us he has no record of Thompson's call in 2018 but was aware of another person who reported holes in the concrete of the parking garage's top deck.

"They were concerned with the holes, you could see through the lower deck," Olszowy said.

Olszowy said the city didn't take action because the previous owner was already making repairs. LEX 18 obtained the building permit issued by the Division of Building Inspection. It was for structural repair of the garage.

City officials who didn't want to be quoted said the extensive repairs were made around a beam in the middle of the garage.

LEX 18 contacted the out-of-state engineer who oversaw the project to try and get more specific information about the repairs. He was unaware of Thursday's collapse and said he would get back to us after he reviewed the project's paperwork.

There has been no determination that the collapse is linked to the 2018 repairs. Structural engineers are still waiting to look at the damage. Current owner Dudley Webb says it's likely the garage will have to be demolished and rebuilt.

Whatever the outcome Webb said he plans to "make the situation right."