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Parking deck at N.C. mall collapses, kills 1; worker missing after Fla. garage collapses

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Posted: December 6, 2007 2:50 p.m.
Updated: December 21, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A section of a shopping mall’s parking deck collapsed Thursday and killed one person, authorities said, as holiday shoppers filled the nearby stores.
    A female driver crashed into the edge of the top level of the parking deck at SouthPark Mall, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokeswoman Julie Hill said.
    A small portion of the three-tier deck then collapsed, and the driver’s car fell through the opening, Hill said.
    There were no other confirmed injuries, Hill said. Two cars under the collapsed concrete were destroyed, Charlotte Fire Department Capt. Rob Brisley said.
    Officials are investigating the cause of the collapse.
    Meanwhile, a parking garage under construction in Jacksonville, Fla., partially collapsed Thursday, injuring about two dozen people, officials said.
    One person was missing, but police did not know if the worker was trapped or had escaped. Search crews with dogs were looking through the rubble.
    Misty Skipper, a spokeswoman for Mayor John Peyton, said early searches had turned up nothing, but they would continue until searchers were certain that nobody was trapped.
    Twelve men and one woman were transported to Shands Jacksonville, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Brockmeir said. Two were in serious condition, 10 were in good condition and one was in fair condition. Some of those in good condition have left the hospital.
    Susan Barrow, a spokeswoman for Baptist Medical Center, said they had three patients, but two have been released and the other is in good condition. St. Vincent’s Medical Center spokesman Erik Kaldor said it also received three injured workers; one was admitted in fair condition, another was treated and released and a third was still being evaluated.
    Other workers were treated at the scene.
    The collapse occurred as workers were pouring concrete on the sixth floor of the garage for a condominium complex, which is located across the street from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
    ‘‘I heard a crack, and then it just crumbled,’’ Rick Caldwell, a construction worker, told The Florida Times-Union.
    Mayor John Peyton said at a news conference that the collapse occurred at shift change when workers were arriving and leaving work, so officials are checking to make sure no one else is missing.
    The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating the collapse.
    ———
    Associated Press writer Ron Word in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.

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