NEW YORK - One person was killed and at least five others injured when a parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
It happened shortly after 4 p.m. at Ann Street near Nassau Street in the Financial District.
It was a chaotic scene after the garage collapsed in the middle of the afternoon.
"Saw a lot of people, the crowd on the street, fire trucks, police," witness Coby Yushanayev said.
Authorities said there were six workers in the building at the time of the collapse, and they have all been accounted for. One was killed, four hospitalized in stable condition, and the other refused medical attention.
"There was a worker that was trapped on the upper floors. He was conscious and alert and moving around calling us. He just couldn't get down, and we were able to put firefighters up there in the building and take him out across the roof to another building and bring him down safely," FDNY Chief of Fire Operations John Esposito said.
The cause of this collapse will be determined by a forensic engineer, but initial findings show the weight from the number of vehicles parked on the roof deck, plus the age of the building, contributed to the collapse.
The roof caved into the third floor. Pressure on the facade and further instability led to a full-on pancake collapse.
"What we observed from the drone deployed, we observed that there are a four story building all the way pancaked, collapsed all the way to the cellar floor," Acting Department of Buildings Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik said.
Vilenchik added, "At this time, I should mention also that there are some active violation on the building, dated back to 2003. But in 2010, it was application filed, which not indicate that violation was corrected, but it was filed. There are some active permits on the building, one of them is related to electric work on the premises."
"This was an extremely dangerous operation for our firefighters. We responded to a call of a collapse in the building, and we had firefighters inside the building, conducting searches. The building was continuing to collapse. We made the decision to remove all our people from the building," Esposito said.
With the conditions so dangerous, the only option was.
"At this time, we only have one DOA," Mayor Eric Adams said. "I do want to point out that, thank God, we had the robotic dog that was able to go in the building. This is ideally what we talk about - not sending a human being inside a building that was unstable. We were also able to use the technology of a drone to give a real visualization of what's happening in this building. At this time this building is completely unstable and the chief - we do not want to send in someone until we can make sure the building is shored up. But using the necessary technology we're able to get a clear view of what's happening inside the building, for the most part, and do whatever we can to see if there are any more victims."
"This was an extremely dangerous operation for our firefighters. We responded to a call of a collapse in the building. We had firefighters inside the building conducting searches. The building was continuing to collapse. We made the decision to remove all our people from the building. Our robotics unit happened to be nearby. They were on scene very quickly. We deployed our robot dog into the building. They're able to give us a video inside, and then we were able to fly our drones inside to conduct an assessment and conduct searches," Esposito said. "At this time, we believe that we have the workers that were in danger all accounted for, all out of the building. That structure is very unstable."
"Almost every single floor has collapsed, even the use of a robot dog couldn't go to every part of the building and someone was trapped inside of it," City Councilmember Christopher Marte said.
A private company contracted through the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development will tear down the building as FDNY sifts through debris for any possible remains.
Although utilities have been shut off, gasoline from the cars inside is a concern. Firefighters are standing by.
"That structure is very unstable. We've had -- it's a parking garage -- we've had some of the slabs, a couple of floors of this concrete slab floors collapse crushed some of the cars that are inside," Esposito said.
Dismantling is expected to take more than a day. The structure remains unstable, so extreme caution is being taken throughout this entire process. The first part of this process will be removing vehicles.
It is too unsafe for crews to try and enter the garage. Right now, everything is being done from the outside.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said there was "no reason to believe" the incident was anything other than a structural collapse.
Several streets surrounding the parking garage collapse in Manhattan are closed Tuesday evening:
- Ann Street between Gold Street Park Row
- Nassau Street between John Street and Beekman Street
- Dutch Street between John Street and Beekman Street
- Gold Street between John Street and Beekman Street
- William Street between John Street and Beekman Street
The DOB issued a full vacate order for the following addresses:
- 49 Ann St., which is a 18- story hotel,
- 55 Ann St., which is a four-story mixed occupancy building with four units,
- And 25-27 Beekman St., which is a six-story parking garage.
A partial vacate order was issued for 157 William St., a 22-story commercial building with 15 units, and 29 Beekman St., a 34-story commercial building with three units.
Nearby Pace University announceddue to the collapse. Students were allowed to return to their residence hall Tuesday night.
The Red Cross is on the scene to help those who have been displaced.
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