Parking garage collapse: Investigation continues at Lower Manhattan site where open building code violations had existed

Roof of parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan.
The caved-in roof of the garage on Ann Street.
Photo by Dean Moses

The investigation continues into Tuesday’s Lower Manhattan parking garage collapse that left one person dead and numerous others injured.

Firefighters responded to the grisly scene at the garage at 57 Ann St. in the Financial District shortly after 4 p.m. on April 18. The roof of the garage collapsed and caved in for as-yet unknown reasons.

The Department of Buildings is investigating the cause the collapse; acting DOB Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik said Tuesday the building had a history of city-issued violations. The DOB database revealed at least three open violations for 57 Ann St. dating as far back as 2003, and each of which pertained to issues with concrete.

The building was at significant risk of structural failure and collapse, the FDNY reports, so much so that the department’s rescue teams were pulled back. Instead, rescue crews utilized the “Digidog” and drones to assess the scene without putting firefighters at risk.

Roof of parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan.
Photo by Dean Moses
A massive emergency response following a garage collapse on Ann Street in the Financial District. Photo by Dean Moses

FDNY Chief of Operations John Esposito said that six workers were in the garage at the time of the collapse. Four of the workers were taken to an area hospital; another passed away from their injuries, and the last one refused medical attention.

The identity of the deceased victim has yet to be released.

“This was an extremely dangerous operation for our firefighters,” said Esposito, who noted that the Digidog and drones sent back video of the scene after firefighters were recalled from the flailing structure.

Esposito said that the department believes all the workers are accounted for, but couldn’t confirm that. “That structure is very unstable,” he said. “We’ve had some of the slabs, a couple of the concrete slab floors collapsed, crushed some of the cars that are inside, and this will be a prolonged operation.”

One worker was said to have been trapped in a car on the upper floors, but was rescued by firefighters before they were recalled.

Roof of parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan.
Photo by Dean Moses
The roadbed on the garage’s roof caved in.Photo by Dean Moses
Roof of parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan.
Photo by Dean Moses

FiDi local Chad Scott, who parks his car at the garage, said the building had long been in “disarray.”

“It’s a mess,” Scott told amNewYork Metro. “The building’s been in disarray for years. It’s really bad. Not surprised at all.”

Scott’s car is unaccounted for, but he said he doesn’t care as long as the garage workers are safe.

Mayor Eric Adams briefs the media on the garage collapse, flanked by (from left): Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, City Councilmember Christopher Marte, FDNY Chief of Operations John Esposito, and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.Photo by Dean Moses

The building was constructed in 1925 and repurposed as a parking garage in the 1950s, said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. The building appeared to be storing a number of cars far in excess of what it was originally intended to, which was five per floor.

The garage had an active construction permit, possibly for electric charging infrastructure, said Levine.

More about the parking garage collapse will be reported later today on amNY.com.