Preliminary reports by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) have established a tentative explanation for the tragic collapse of a parking garage in Manhattan’s Financial District, blaming the disaster on an excess of cars on the top of the 98-year-old building.
On Tuesday, a parking garage on 57 Ann Street caved in from the top floor, killing the building’s manager Willis Moore and injuring at least five more.
Now a preliminary report by the FDNY has attributed the disaster to the unsafe number of cars on the top floor of the parking garage, combined with the archaic building’s advanced age and poor maintenance.
An internal memo from the FDNY, which was obtained by the New York Post, stated that the working theory to explain the collapse was the excess of cars parked on the building’s roof.
The building had a checkered history of open violations dating back to 2003, when the New York Department of Buildings labeled the structure on Ann Street as “hazardous” on account of cracks which were observed in the building’s concrete slabs.
On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a press briefing addressing the disaster. During the press conference, the mayor expressed his enthusiasm for the robotic dog built by Boston Dynamics which carried out much of the rescue work in the collapsed structure.
“This is, ideally, what we talk about: not sending a human being inside the building that’s unstable.”
Adams also expounded on many of the dangers present in such an old, poorly-maintained building, hinting at several factors which could have made the disaster even worse.
“The building is not structurally sound, you think about hazardous materials that are in the garage, right gas tanks, fluids, further complicated by the fact that there are possibly some electric vehicles in that garage,” Adams said.
The authorities have scheduled a controlled demolition of the structure on Thursday.
“At this time, the building is completely unstable,” Adams told the press during the aforementioned briefing.
The authorities did not establish whether the building’s owners, the creatively named 57 Ann Street Realty Associates, or any other parties are criminally or civilly liable for the collapse.
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