UPDATE — North Shore Fire Chief Robert Whitaker told WTMJ that crews are using industrial-grade heaters to melt the snow that fell to the first floor of the Bayshore Town Center parking structure, which partially collapsed this morning.
After confirming no one was inside the structure, Whittaker explained that crews would take their time clearing the snow and debris. Whittaker said patience will be key, especially because the structure already started to shift Thursday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, as that snow melts, we do think we are going to get some shifting, so we are being very cautious about it. And with us being 99% sure that no one is in there, we are going to take our time versus rushing in there and getting something quick.”
While crews begin to clear the debris, Whitaker said the area will soon be completely fenced off and will be under 24-hour surveillance. In regards to the vehicles trapped inside the structure, the Fire Chief said it could be a month or longer till people are reunited with their cars.
WTMJ’s original breaking news story has been left unaltered from its original publishing below.
GLENDALE, Wis. — A parking structure’s ramp collapsed at the Bayshore Town Center near Trader Joe’s on Thursday afternoon under the weight of snow from the recent winter storm, trapping and in some cases, destroying cars belonging to shoppers and workers alike.
North Shore Fire and Rescue Chief Robert Whitaker said that the third floor of the parking structure collapsed onto the second floor, which then collapsed onto the ground floor. To this point, they have no reason to believe that anyone was injured, but Chief Whitaker says that two cars were destroyed.
The structure, which saw its second floor collapse, is located on N Port Washington Rd near the intersection with W Silver Spring Dr.
As reported by TMJ4, a Milwaukee Structural Collapse Team brought a large vehicle with crews and equipment to the scene. They are currently inside the structure with compact tractors and other construction equipment being used to remove rubble and clear the scene.
People whose vehicles were trapped have been contacted by police officers to inform them of the collapse. The area of Bayshore Town Center is totally blocked off, and access to the parking structure is limited to responding crews.
A victim whose car was trapped underneath the debris told TMJ4’s Ubah Ali that there were only a few vehicles on that level of the lot when she parked in the morning — though people usually trickle in throughout the day. This collapse happened during the busy lunchtime hour at Bayshore Mall.
Wisconsin’s Afternoon News was joined by Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski to discuss the parking ramp collapse, a fire department’s role in emergencies like this and how the winter storm factored into this incident.
This is a breaking news story. An update and/or follow-up will be issued when further details are revealed.
TOP HEADLINES FROM THE WTMJ NEWS STAFF:
- Former Wisconsin Governor Tony Earl passes away at age 86
- 5-year-old Milwaukee boy fatally shot himself with unattended gun, police say
- Southeast Wisconsin power outages force Gov. Evers to declare energy emergency
- Giannis Antetokounmpo will return for Bucks when pain from wrist sprain subsides
- Daniel Kelly discusses role of Supreme Court vs. Legislators, Protasiewicz’s “platform of dishonesty”