Three days after the deadly collapse of a parking garage in Lower Manhattan, cleanup crews are still working to clear massive amounts of debris from the scene. Due to the extent of the damage, the cleanup process can reportedly take up to three weeks.
The collapse, which occurred on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, left five garage workers injured, and tragically killed garage manager Willis Moore. Cars are slowly being removed one by one from the wreckage during the round-the-clock cleanup operation. The exact cause of the collapse remains unknown, but the investigation is ongoing.
The structure, located at 57 Ann Street, was originally built in 1925 and in 1957 was issued a certificate of occupancy allowing it to be used as a parking garage for “more than five” automobiles per level with a capacity of ten people per floor. Notably, at the time of the collapse, a lot more than five vehicles were parked on the roof. According to ABC7, as many as 90 vehicles were left scattered among debris after the collapse. It is also important to note that modern vehicles are considerably heavier than older models that would have been driven in the 1950s.
According to news reports, city officials believe the weight of the cars and the age of the building may have played a role in the collapse. An initial investigation by the Department of Buildings showed that all three levels of the garage either partially or completely collapsed. Additionally, the structure’s rear wall was partially collapsed and the front façade bulged.
Dangerous History of Building Violations
In the days following the accident, the parking garage’s history of building violations has come to light. Twenty years ago, in 2003, the property owner was fined $800 for failure to maintain the building, evidenced by cracks and other signs of deterioration in the concrete on the first floor as well as missing concrete covering steel beams.
In 2009, received another violation citing poorly maintained fire stairs that “opened with [a] loose piece of concrete in danger of falling [at] various locations.” According to Eyewitness News, in 2010, an engineering report commissioned by the building owner revealed issues with the roof and ceiling.
At the time of the collapse on Tuesday, several violations remained open including a lighting issue, concrete violations, and a violation received for locked emergency exits in 2013.
According to Clare Bourke, a spokesperson for the FDNY, the building will be taken down in a controlled demolition. Demolition workers will need to work carefully as they remove approximately 90 damaged vehicles and demolish the structure.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Willis Moore, the 57-year-old garage manager who lost his life in the collapse. Friends of Moore returned to the garage to pay their respects. Ahmed Scott, a regular customer, told reporters, “Every morning I’d see him. When I was leaving that morning – the last time we saw each other – we smiled, waved at each other. We knew we’d see each other in the afternoon, same time, same place.”
Legal Help for Building Collapse Victims
As the investigation into the collapse continues, a main question at the forefront should be whether a liable party should have known that the structure was unable to hold the load it was bearing. If you or a loved one were injured as a result of a building collapse, you may wish to contact a skilled building collapse lawyer who can investigate your case and fight on your behalf.
The building collapse lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have dedicated their careers to fighting for accident victims’ rights. Their proven track record includes the following results:
- $9,000,000 settlement for a 14-year-old student who suffered serious injuries when a large piece of a wall collapsed onto him
- $5,850,000 settlement for a client who was injured when a large portion of the ceiling in her apartment fell onto her
- $4,995,000 settlement for a laborer who was hurt when the floor beneath him collapsed, causing him to fall 20 feet to the ground
To speak with one of our expert attorneys today, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online Contact Form.