Parts of a parking garage at 1 E. Pratt Street collapsed Friday morning, trapping dozens of vehicles inside. The Baltimore City Fire Department reported no injuries from the incident.
The collapse drew several fire engines, multiple ambulances and other emergency response vehicles to the Inner Harbor Friday morning, blocking off Charles Street between Pratt and Conway streets. That section of the high-traffic roadway would remain closed for an undetermined amount of time as further assessments of the building are conducted, city officials said Friday morning.
We are on scene of a garage collapse at 1 E. Pratt St. at this time, we have no injuries reported. Media Briefing will be at 11:30 at Charles & Pratt St. pic.twitter.com/2p8Qlh7ZG3— Baltimore Fire (@BaltimoreFire) July 15, 2022
Baltimore City Fire Department Assistant Chief of Operations Dante Stewart told reporters at the scene that the roof above the entrance fell in just after a car drove into the garage, trapping it inside. The driver was able to safely exit the building without the car, he said.
An investigation into the cause of the collapse is ongoing, and officials with Mayor Brandon Scott’s office and the fire department Friday morning did not provide information about what could have triggered the collapse.
“This could have been a severe tragedy,” said Scott, who was also present after the collapse. “This is something that we never want to see happen, but we are thankful that no one was injured.”
In total, approximately 50 cars were trapped inside, Stewart said. The garage, which has the capacity for more than 200 vehicles, is part of a larger Pratt Street complex owned by the Miami-based Banyan Street Capital.
Stewart said inspectors were on scene and engineers were en route to the garage to inspect the building’s structural integrity and assess the possibility for further collapse.
The building was permitted for a renovation of non load-bearing partitions on April 27, according to a city database. The permit expires October 27, but it’s not clear whether the renovations have already been performed or whether they were slated for the garage or a different portion of the 1 E. Pratt Street complex.
Buildings like the 1 E. Pratt Street garage are typically inspected annually by city fire prevention officials, Stewart said, though the deputy fire chief could not immediately say when the last inspection occurred at the collapsed site.
The large concrete piece that fell onto the ground level of the garage could be part of the building’s structure, said Abi Aghayere, a Drexel University engineering researcher and expert in concrete structures, who analyzed photos of the collapse.
“I would not use the garage until a thorough inspection and assessment is carried out to figure out why this huge piece of concrete element fell off the building,” he wrote in an email.
Councilman Eric Costello, who represents the harbor district that includes the garage, also spoke at the scene and thanked emergency responders for their quick work.
Anyone whose car is parked in the 1 E. Pratt Street garage should contact SP+, which operates the garage, for more information on when it will be safe to retrieve their vehicle, Costello said.
UPDATE: One E Pratt St Garage Collapse— Eric Costello (@CouncilmanETC) July 15, 2022
No injuries at this time, collapse zone has been secured, emergency personnel / building inspectors on scene, search operations concluded and no entrapments found. S Charles St between Pratt St and Conway St closed. pic.twitter.com/UlpZhYY3SR
Ben Conarck contributed to this story.