Manhattan DA investigating parking garage collapse caused by too many cars on 98-year-old building’s top floor

Preliminary FDNY reports said Wednesday that the deadly collapse of a Financial District parking garage was likely caused by the building’s age and the number of cars on its top deck — as the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office opened a probe into the disaster.

Photos from the scene show numerous vehicles, many of them bulky SUVs, jammed together on the roof of the fallen structure — which left the building’s manager, Willis Moore, dead and five others hurt Tuesday afternoon.

“There’s over 50 cars on the roof,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference Wednesday.

“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,” he added, noting the ongoing dagner to investigators.  

An internal memo from the FDNY said the working theory behind the cause of the disaster was that the three-story garage likely crumbled under the weight of the many vehicles on the roof.

The structure’s advanced age — it was originally built during the Coolidge administration in 1925 — also likely contributed, the memo said.

The office of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg said Wednesday that they will probe the cause of the collapse, but did not give any details about if any criminality is suspected.

The garage collapsed Tuesday afternoon, killing one and injuring four others.

Meanwhile, the fire department on Wednesday was trying to remove the cars still trapped inside so it could demolish the pancaked deck. A massive backhoe with a clam bucket tore into building’s brick-and-mortar flanks Wednesday morning, hurling a cloud of dust and debris into the city streets.

Firefighters also have to remove the deceased man, who remains inside.

“We are unable to get to the victim,” one fire official said, blaming the building’s instability. “It’s going to be a prolonged operation over several days.

An injured man being carted away from the garage collapse
Four of the five injured people went to the hospital, authorities said.

Fire officials are planning to carry out a controlled demolition on Thursday.

Zach Iscol, commissioner of the city’s emergency management office, added that it was an “incredibly complex operation.”

The Ann Street garage caved in at about 4:10 p.m., swallowing dozens of cars and sending slabs of concrete plummeting from the fourth floor into the cellar.

Shocking footage from the scene showed multiple cars on top of the crushed roof.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will open an investigation into what caused the collapse, his office said.
William Farrington

Four of the five people injured were taken to the hospital. All of them had been working inside when the building collapsed.

The building was not under construction, although there were active permits.

It had also been cited for several violations dating back to 2003, many of which were related to issues with its concrete construction.