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Workers continue precise demolition of collapsed Lower Manhattan parking garage

NYC parking garage collapse raises safety concerns
NYC parking garage collapse raises safety concerns 02:47

NEW YORK -- Demolition work at the site of the collapsed parking garage in Lower Manhattan is now in full gear, as questions mount about the safety of similar buildings in the city.

It's quite the delicate process, especially on and around narrow, busy streets. The latest update from the city is contractors have removed part of the front of the building and pulled many of the crushed cars from the wreckage, all while trying not to damage neighboring buildings and prevent potentially flammable materials from gas tanks igniting.

Some vehicles are being cut into pieces in order to be removed from the garage.

CBS2 has been at the site for three days and what's also apparent is the impact the deceased garage worker had on the neighborhood.

"Loss of life, it's the worst thing," said Marc Torello, who works in the Financial District.

A tearful Tonya Davis, who works in the area, says for nearly three decades she parked at the Ann Street garage, and most of those days she was greeted by garage manager Willis Moore.

"When I heard this happened, I started calling him. I know they said, I don't know, six was injured and one had passed. Calling him and calling him and he's not picking up. I just kept praying," Davis said. "Twenty-seven years. Twenty-seven years, never think in a million years that it would be someone I knew." 

Willis Moore CBS2

Moore was officially confirmed as the lone fatality in Tuesday's collapse.

"This is a tragic event. We are devastated at the loss of one of our long-time employees and our thoughts are with his family and those who were injured in the accident. We thank all of the first responders who quickly attended to those who were impacted and appreciate their courageous work. We are fully cooperating with City agencies and other authorities as they investigate this incident," Enterprise Ann Parking said in a statement.

READ MOREManager of neighboring parking garage happy to be alive following Tuesday's collapse

On Wednesday, Moore's body was removed from the wreckage and transferred to the Medical Examiner's Office. Police waited for the official identification before releasing his name. Moore's neighbors in the Laurelton section of Queens had been bracing themselves.

"He was super-hard working, worked holidays. Everyone on his team really respected and liked him, so it's really sad," garage customer Veena Raju said.

Watch Alecia Reid's report

Demolition work continues after deadly NYC parking garage collapse 01:20

On Thursday, crews and large cranes continue to work piece by piece to remove cars and tear down the near-century-old garage.

Investigators are still trying to figure out the exact cause. There are four open building violations and it's unclear if any contributed to the collapse.

The city is looking into the age of the building and the weight of the 90-plus cars inside. more than half of them parked on the roof.

READ MOREBusinesses near site of parking garage collapse expect slower than usual patron turnout due to demolition

CBS2 spoke to engineer Michael Shenoda from Farmingdale State College.

"Between the weather and repeated loading trucks, trucks and cars coming in and out on a repeated basis, certainly can over time wear the building and cause an eventual collapse, sure," Shenoda said.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has launched an investigation, as has Mayor Eric Adams, not only into this incident but they're also looking at the hundreds of other parking garages across the city.

"Making sure if there's something we can put in place to prevent something like this from happening, we will," Adams said.

Watch Natalie Duddridge's report

Demolition work underway after deadly parking garage collapse in NYC 02:49

The Department of Environmental Protection is also monitoring air quality, a concern for area residents and workers.

"Asbestos has been assessed as being in the building," one person said.

As crews continue their work, the entire site is still considered unstable. In fact, six surrounding buildings now have full vacate orders as well. Some workers at another parking facility that's now barricaded are wondering if they will still have jobs to return to.

READ MORENYC launches investigation on Lower Manhattan parking garage collapse

Adam Cohen lost his car in the wreck, and he and his family are now displaced, staying in a nearby hotel with no idea when they'll be able to return home.

"They don't know how this is gonna go and what the damage could be," Cohen said.

The FDNY says people whose cars were parked inside and were salvaged can retrieve their vehicles at Pier 11.   

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