Bayshore collapse: Glendale mayor seeks inspection changes

The cause of the partial collapse of the Silver Spring Parking Garage will be determined by Bayshore's insurance company, but Glendale's mayor isn't waiting on the results to call for change.

The inspection process is outlined in state law so that it's uniform across Wisconsin. It does not require private parking structure owners to inspect the structures every so often.

Glendale's mayor wants to change that, and an attorney who represented victims in another partial garage collapse said that change can't come soon enough.

Two cars were covered in crumbled concrete after the Feb. 23 collapse. Somehow, that was the worst of it. Surveillance showed a passing customer was nearly hit.

"Their insurance company is investigating what went wrong to determine, essentially, the level of coverage and liability," said Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy.

Feb. 25 cleanup efforts after Feb. 23 Bayshore parking garage collapse (Courtesy: North Shore Fire/Rescue | Daniel Tyk)

Glendale's mayor isn't waiting for that investigation to learn a lesson.

"We're putting, you know what, hundreds of thousands of tons of cars in something this large," said Kennedy. "I think there should be an ongoing inspection process."

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Right now, state statute requires inspections of private parking garages before construction, during construction, before occupancy and anytime a change is made. Kennedy is asking state legislators to require garage owners to inspect the structures every three or five years, filing a report with the state and municipality so that any signs of failing infrastructure don't slip through the cracks.

"It would add an extra layer of inspections and guaranteed upkeep on a property," said Kennedy.

There's an understanding that a near-miss this time could be a lot worse next time. Just ask Al Foeckler.

"When I saw the initial footage of first responders at the parking garage, my stomach dropped," said Foeckler.

Foeckler represented the family of Jared Kellner and the Wosinskis after a concrete slab fell from the facade of the O'Donnell Park Garage downtown in 2010. It killed Kellner, who was 15, and injured the Wosinskis.

"Anything that we can do to prevent this is so important, not only in the memory of Jared Kellner, but just moving forward," said Foeckler. 

Foeckler pointed out surveillance showed contractors piling snow on the collapse zone before it happened.

There's going to be a lot of experts involved with studying what went wrong, but by all indications, it looks to be an issue of where the snow was piled," said Foeckler.

He said even without injuries, the public still needs accountability.