A building at 57 Ann St in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan suffered a partial collapse on Tuesday, April 18th, leading to one death and the injuries of five garage workers. The six garage workers were working in the building when it collapsed around 4 pm in the afternoon. Four of the surviving garage workers were taken to the hospital.
The building collapse caused severe damage with floors, ceilings, and cars parked inside the building destroyed. Video footage of the incident showed the severity of the collapse with the incident affecting surrounding areas.
The FDNY and NYPD responded to the incident with firefighters initially entering the collapsed building on foot. The firefighters managed to rescue a person who had been trapped in the building. While they were in the building, it became clear that it was still unstable, making it unsafe and they had to evacuate.
“There was a worker who was trapped on the upper floor. He was conscious and alert and moving around calling us,” said John Esposito, the FDNY Chief of Operations. “He just couldn’t get down. We were able to put firefighters up there in the building to take him down across the roof of another building.” The FDNY used the opportunity to deploy the digidog, a robotic dog used by police, and drones. The digidog entered the building, going to unsafe areas that the FDNY and NYPD could not access.
The building is reportedly nearly 100 years old and is owned by 57 Ann Street Realty Associates, Inc. According to City Buildings Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik, the building had six open building violations with three of them labeled hazardous. Some of the open violations date back to 2003. The building had a litany of issues including cracked, loosely hanging concrete, damaged fire stairs, and a defective exit. The owner of the building had notified the relevant authorities of its intention to repair the vulnerabilities, however, it was not clear whether they were fixed. The building reportedly also received two violations over its elevators in 2021. On the day of the collapse, the FDNY filed a request to inspect the stability of the building.
The building collapse occurred in the aftermath of the city passing new structural inspection requirements in 2022. These requirements would necessitate the inspection of buildings and the findings filed with the city’s Department of Buildings before the end of the year. According to reports, some of the buildings first in line to be inspected were the garages in Lower Manhattan, much like the one that collapsed.
The site of the collapse drew a lot of attention. Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell were present at the scene. Mayor Adams arrived at the scene relatively early as he noted during a press conference that the building was still unstable. In a press conference on Wednesday, April 19th, Adams applauded the use of the controversial digidog, emphasizing how it can save lives.