WILLOWICK, Ohio — News 5 Investigators got an up-close view of a collapsed parking garage in Willowick.
We don’t just report the initial story—we follow through to its conclusion. Read and watch our previous reporting on this story below and see more stories that we’ve followed through on here.
The upper deck at the Shoregate Towers apartment complex caved in Wednesday night and left two people hurt.
All of the smashed cars have now been removed and no one was found in the rubble. There was construction happening in part of the garage before the collapse.
“I got a Pulp glass, I got a hoodie,” Orion Wortman said.
News 5 Investigators were there when Wortman tried to salvage what he could from his flattened SUV.
“This is insane. This is crazy,” Wortman said. “All my high school stuff’s in here.”
He is now wondering who, if anyone, will be held responsible for the damage.
Marc Demarco was parked on the upper deck watching a storm when it caved in.
“All of a sudden, the car just came up and just dropped down about 20 feet,” Demarco said.
The site has now been turned back over to the property owners after more than a dozen cars were pulled out of the rubble. It could be weeks or even months before a cause could be determined.
“We went through each car and made sure there was no loss of life,” said Willowick Fire Chief Bill Malovrh.
Malovrh says it’s now up to the property owners and their insurance company to figure out the next steps.
“Assessing the damage, I’m sure they’ll get investigators in here and start assessing what caused this problem,” he said.
Malovrh says they and the city will do inspections along the way.
Wortman says he paid $40 extra to park in the garage. He and others say they warned property management about falling concrete before the collapse.
Property managers told News 5 Investigators no concrete fell prior and they didn’t get complaints.
“About two weeks prior, I had just like a couple of rocks from the garage like fall on top of my car. I showed them a picture like, ‘Hey, your garage is kind of like falling apart’,” Wortman said.
In May, property owners were found guilty of 15 building code violations. “They were doing some work in the garage,” Malovrh said.
A Lake County building official said Shoregate Towers had permits issued for garage repairs in June. However, the inspector for the area had not inspected the garage yet.
Court records show the owners expected repair work to wrap up by Aug. 31.
“I’m looking for a new place right now. I’m actually moving out,” Wortman said.
Wortman says he wasn’t aware his car insurance had lapsed. Still, his family is getting a lawyer after he spoke with property managers.
“They said they were only liable for the stuff that’s in our apartment,” Wortman said.
News 5 Investigators got in touch with the attorney for Shoregate Towers, who told us no comment.
The city of Willowick says it will not be able to determine whether there will be further prosecution until it’s safe for them to do an inspection.
We Follow Through
Want us to continue to follow through on a story? Let us know.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.