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Deadly garage collapse in New York City due to building's nearly 100-year-old age, too many vehicles on roof, officials say

The building, originally built in 1925, had an unresolved violation from 2003 regarding concrete slab cracks that was labeled "hazardous," records show.
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Initial findings after Tuesday's collapse of a New York City parking garage indicate that the building being nearly 100 years old coupled with too many vehicles on the roof contributed to the deadly structural failure.

Willis Moore, 59, the manager of the parking garage, was killed in the collapse when the Ann Street building in lower Manhattan caved in just after 4 p.m., the city's fire department said. Five other workers were injured.

A preliminary investigation found that too much weight on the roof and the building's age contributed to the severity of the collapse, according to the New York City Fire Department chief of safety.

Video and photos posted to social media showed the roof of the building caved in, with several SUVs and vehicles crashed into the floor below.

The building was originally constructed in 1925 with a certification of occupancy dated for January 1926, according to city records.

Another certification was issued in 1957 that allowed for "more than five" motor vehicles on the cellar and the first three stories. It specified the roof may have "passenger-car type" vehicles only.

City officials pledged Tuesday that the investigation into the collapse would be exhaustive. A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings told NBC News on Wednesday that the investigation was ongoing, but the office hoped to have updates for the public soon.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said Wednesday that they are investigating the collapse.

There were open violations on the building, records show, including one from November 2003 that was considered hazardous. The violation stated the building had "first floor ceiling slab cracks" as well as "defective concrete with exposed rear cracks."

A hearing was set for the violation in 2004 but the issue was not resolved, according to the records.

The department granted a work permit for the building in 2019 for electrical work to handle "general wiring" required for car charging equipment.

The garage's owner, Little Man Parking, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Enterprise Ann Parking, which is the tenant of the garage, thanked first responders, and that it is fully cooperating in the investigation.

“This is a tragic event. We are devastated at the loss of one of our long-time employees and our thoughts are with his family and those who were injured in the accident,” Enterprise Ann Parking said in a statement.

“We thank all of the first responders who quickly attended to those who were impacted and appreciate their courageous work,” it said.