Vehicles removed from Miami parking garage a day after car fell 9 stories

Only first floor allowed to be in use at this time

MIAMI – Workers began moving vehicles out of a downtown Miami parking garage Wednesday, a day after a car plunged nine stories through an elevator shaft.

Now the only thing left to figure out is how this happened in the first place.

Cellphone video shows flames bursting from the parking deck after the car fell to the ground.

"I was standing right there," the car's owner, Matt Olechnowicz, said. "I was literally 10 feet away. I saw the car drop and hit."

Olechnowicz said he valets his 2005 Acura TL at the deck every day for work. He said he came to pick it up Tuesday afternoon when the incident occurred. 

"I'm not sure if they left it in gear or what they did, but the car started, pushed through the gate and fell down an empty elevator shaft nine floors," he said. 

Witnesses were obviously shocked to see the ordeal unfold. 

"We were walking down last night, coming this way, and we just heard this massive thud. And, all of the sudden, we come running over (and) there's people and a car down there," said James Osburn, who is vacationing with his family in Miami. "Then, all of the sudden, we smelled gasoline. So then I yelled, 'Everybody, you gotta get back!'" 

Authorities said the car caught fire and the flames sent smoke billowing into the air, shutting down the parking deck for nearly 24 hours.

According to people who work in the area, this isn't the first time this has happened.

In fact, photos from 2017 show a Volkswagen that fell one story.

Miami Fire Rescue officials said most of the lot will remain closed for some time. 

There are concerns about the strength of the barriers inside the deck that would prevent a fall like the one that occurred Tuesday. 

Authorities said the owner of the building has been told they are not allowed to use any part of the deck other than the first floor until that issue is addressed.

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