One person was killed and several others injured when a three-story parking garage in lower Manhattan collapsed April 18, at about 4 p.m. The cause of the failure of the 65-year-old Ann Street building is still under investigation, New York City Dept. of Buildings Acting Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik said during a press conference.
The garage “pancaked” all the way down to the cellar floor, said Vilenchik. The roof, third floor and second floor collapsed into the footprint of the building, according to Mayor Eric Adams' office. The rear wall partially collapsed, and the front wall is bulging. DOB engineers were checking adjoining buildings and studying drone footage from inside the garage to identify a possible cause.
Controlled demolition and removal of cars began April 19 under the supervision of a private engineer, according to the mayor's office. Officials did not immediately disclose the firm.
NYC Dept. of Buildings records show an outstanding violation issued in 2003 which noted “defective concrete” with spalling and cracks in the first floor ceiling slab. Repair work was permitted in 2010, and DOB inspectors observed the work in progress during November 2011, according to the mayor's office. The last work permit on record for the site was issued in 2015 for installation of overhead protections, records show. A certificate of occupancy was first issued in 1926 and modified in 1957 to allow parking on the roof.
DOB issued full vacate orders at four nearby buildings and partial vacate orders at two others.
John Esposito, chief of operations for the New York City Fire Dept., said the rescue operation was “extremely dangerous.” Firefighters rescued one worker from the top of the garage by moving him to an adjacent building, Esposito said. FDNY ended up pulling firefighters from the building and using a “robot dog” and drones to check the garage in case anyone else was still inside, he said.
“We had firefighters inside the building conducting searches, the building was continuing to collapse,” Esposito said. “We made the decision to remove all our people from the building.”
Officials believe everyone is accounted for, Esposito added. One garage employee, still unidentified, was dead on arrival at the hospital, Adams told reporters. Four people were hospitalized and are in stable condition, and a fifth survivor refused medical attention.