UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) – A section of Fayette County’s municipal employee parking lot collapsed overnight.
The lot is next to the Uniontown Police Department and down the street from the county courthouse. Concrete slabs and steel beams collapsed about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and no cars were parked there at the time and no injuries have been reported.
It looks like a massive, invisible fist punched and shattered the concrete, the debris falling into nearby Redstone Creek.
“This occurred about 1:30 this morning,” said Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerling. “As you can see, we roped it off. This is about 15 parking spaces for our employees.”
Built in the ‘70s, the structure gave way after decades of what officials say was the one-two punch of corrosion and erosion.
A sinkhole opened in the same parking lot three years ago. County officials say they knew the parking lot had its issues and things were in the works to fix it, but gravity moved first.
“Actually, we had a meeting about a week ago,” said Zimmerling.
Most of the parking lot is under solid ground. Parking cars on that part of the lot has been given the green light.
However, everything on the other side of the caution tape has nothing but the creek and compromised structural support underneath. Clean up is now the focus.
“My office has reached out to the DEP to make sure we can get an emergency permit that will allow the debris to be removed with heavy machinery immediately,” said Rep. Matthew Dowling.
The collapse could make the next rainstorm into a catastrophic flood for large parts of Uniontown due to Redstone Creek being blocked.
But, most people who live and work in the area are thankful the collapse happened when it did.
“I would put blessed before luck,” said Zimmerling.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)