Safety concerns over Virginia Beach parking garage

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — 10 On Your Side is looking into safety concerns at a parking garage in Virginia Beach Town Center.

Martin Grube, a former firefighter who lives there, contacted WAVY News about confusing clearance signs. WAVY’s Stephanie Harris went out to the garage on Main Street Thursday morning and found a sign at the entrance that reads 8 feet 2 inches — but as soon as you turn a corner, it drops a foot.

Drivers have hit and taken down fire sprinklers and pipes twice in the past two months. Grube took pictures after a truck ripped the fire sprinkler and pipe from the ceiling on Wednesday. He says when sprinklers go down even for a short time, it puts people at risk.

“This whole building was out of fire protection. When these go down, the fire protection is not there… and people are in jeopardy,” he said.

The parking lot manager, Joe Belec with Republic Parking sees it differently. He says you can’t miss the clearance signs indicating where the height clearance drops to 7 feet 2 inches. Belec says he doesn’t agree with Grube that putting the lower clearance level sign out front would help.

“In these two instances, still would not have stopped those people from doing that,” Belec said.

Belec says one driver told him he was tired and thought he could squeeze under. Another reportedly forgot he had a tire strapped to his roof. Still, Belec says he is making one change: Painting the pipes red. It should be done by the end of next week he said, giving drivers another visual alert.