Crews begin demolition at site of Manhattan garage collapse

Crews have begun the delicate demolition process of the parking garage that collapsed in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday. The body of the collapse’s sole fatality, Willis Moore, was also recovered and taken from the scene.

NEW YORK CITY – Demolition began before noon on Wednesday in Lower Manhattan as heavy-duty grapplers started dismantling the collapsed parking structure at 57 Ann St. 

City officials said the demolition is a complex one since there are hundreds of cars inside. Ten buildings in the surrounding area are still under evacuation orders. 

Officials also are worried about hazardous materials and dust from the building, including the gas tanks of cars, fluids, and electric vehicles.

Officials also noted that there were no red flags in the building's history and emphasized that more than 50 SUVs were on the top floor, parked bumper to bumper.

While the city is still investigating a cause, one source told FOX 5 New York that "obviously the roof couldn’t hold the weight."

Meanwhile, the FDNY sent out an update later today, stating in addition to the one person, one of the eight people who was injured in the incident has sustained life-threatening injuries.

Just after 5 p.m., the body of the manager who died in the collapse, identified as Willis Moore, was finally extricated from the rubble. While his body was in view of rescuers on Tuesday, they could not enter into the area without the risk of the remaining structure falling on top of them. 

“Felt like an earthquake — like the earth opened up inside, like thats how violent it was.” Student Jadess Speller describing the collapse Remembering Willis Moore, victim of Lower Manhattan garage collapse

The man who died in Tuesday’s parking garage collapse in Lower Manhattan has been identified as the garage’s long-time manager, Willis Moore. FOX 5 NY’s Antwan Lewis spoke to people who knew him well and looks at how he is being remembered.

Vehicles tumbled Tuesday into what looked like a frozen stream of sedans and SUVs. People nearby described a fearsome rumbling, followed by screams.

Ahmed Scott arrived to collect his car after work and found a disaster in the making. NYC parking garage collapse

Former FDNY Commissioner Tom Von Essen joined Good Day New York.

In video he shot from across the street, someone off-camera yelled, "Guard! 911! 911! There's a building collapsing on Ann Street," followed by the sound of something crumpling. 

About 45 seconds later, two women run out, saying the building fell while they were inside it. A man stood on a fire escape as bystanders try to figure out how to help him get down. He eventually did, Scott said.

RELATED: FDNY deploys robotic dog for first time in collapsed garage search

"I hope ain't nobody else in there," Scott recalled thinking, worrying for the garage workers he'd gotten to know.

To Jadess Speller, a student at nearby Pace University, the collapse "felt like an earthquake — like the earth opened up inside, like that’s how violent it was." Other students described seeing cars falling in the building. Parking garage collapse leaves Manhattan neighborhood stunned

Neighbors were left stunned after a parking garage in Lower Manhattan’s Financial District collapsed on Tuesday, leaving one man dead and 5 more people injured. FOX 5 NY spoke to neighbors about how the collapse has impacted their lvies, and their fears for the garage supervisor, who is presumed dead.

“This was an extremely dangerous operation for our firefighters.” FDNY Chief James Esposito

Firefighters initially deployed to the scene were conducting a search of the building but due to the unstable nature of the structure, crews were pulled out and a robotic dog and drone were deployed to continue the search. 

"This was an extremely dangerous operation for our firefighters," FDNY Chief James Esposito offered at the scene. "The building was continuing to collapse. We made the decision to pull all of our people from the building." Multiple injuries in Lower Manhattan parking garage collapse

There are reports of multiple injuries after a parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon.

The cause of the collapse is unknown at this time, however, officials said it is believed to be nothing more than a structural collapse. 

"That structure is very unstable," Esposito continued. "We’ve had a couple of the concrete slab floors collapse and crush the cars inside."  Video shows aftermath of deadly parking garage collapse in Lower Manhattan

At least one person has died and five others injured after a four-story parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, April 18, according to officials. (Credit: Shianne Henion via Storyful)

The four-story structure was built in the 1950s, FOX 5 NY's Lisa Evers reported.

The garage caved in around 4 p.m., a few blocks from City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge, and about half a mile (0.8 km) from the New York Stock Exchange. 

Pace evacuated an adjacent dorm and classroom building, and canceled all evening classes as it assessed the buildings' safety. School officials sent the displaced students to a student center while working out other accommodations.

Police do not believe there was any sign of foul play or terrorism.

Associated Press wire services helped contribute to this report.

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