Victim in Garage Collapse in Downtown on 4/18 Pulled from Rubble Two Days Later

Willis Moore, 59, the beloved general manager, is the only known fatality in the collapse of the four story parking garage on Ann Street on April 18. Five other employees inside at the time of collapse escaped alive.

| 20 Apr 2023 | 08:04

The body of the general manager who was killed in a parking garage collapse in downtown Manhattan was removed on April 20th, two days after the 95 year old structure came tumbling down in a heap of concrete slabs, bricks and destroyed vehicles.

Willis Moore, 59 years is the only known fatality from the collapse on Ann Street, in which at least five other employees escaped alive. Four were taken to local hospitals; the fifth declined treatment at the scene. Firefighters and emergency personnel had worried that they would not be able to retrieve the victim’s body from the unstable building for several days but with the help of a robotic Dalmatian dog they were able to extract his remains on April 20.

The building is slowly being taken apart by a massive back hoe in a demolition project that could drag on for weeks.

The FDNY says they have accounted for all employees that were inside the building at the time of the collapse but are still carefully searching as each car is removed and placed on a flat bed truck and taken to Pier 39 on the West side. Although most of the cars are expected to be declared total losses, owners were going to be allowed to retrieve them if they desired.

Moore was believed to be in his office on the first floor on the day the building came tumbling down.

One of the regulars of Enterprise Ann Parking said he would see the beloved general manager twice a day, once when he dropped his car off in the morning and once when he picked it up. “Every morning I’d see him,” Ahmed Scott, told ABC7. “When I was leaving that morning –the last time we saw each other–we smiled, waved at each other. We knew we’d see each other in the afternoon, same place, same time.”

Firefighters were on the scene within minutes of the collapse, but FDNY chief of operations John Esposito said that after initially entering the building to search for survivors, they had been forced to evacuate because the building was too unstable. Instead the FDNY for one of the first times ever made use of a robo Dalmatian dog. They also sent in drones to conduct the early search.

“This was an extremely dangerous operation for our firefighters,” Esposito said. “We had firefighters inside the building conducting searches. The building was continuing to collapse. We made the decision to remove all our people from the building.

“Our robotics unit happened to be nearby,” Esposito said. “They were on scene very quickly. We deployed our robot dog into the building, they were able to give us a video inside, and then we were able to fly our drones inside to conduct an assessment and conduct searches.”

Speculation on the cause of the collapse included the weight from modern cars as as that as many as 50 of the 90 vehicles believed to be in the structure at the time of the collapse were parked on the roof.

“We are living in a new environment and we have to constantly analyze and upgrade everything from weight capacity to how many cars can be there,’’ Adams said.

According to the acting DOB commissioner, Kazimir Vilenchik, the parking garage had violations dating back to 2003 and that it currently had an open building permit for electrical work although it could not be learned if past violations had been cleared or not.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg said he would open an investigation into the cause of the collapse.

“We are living in a new environment and we have to constantly analyze and upgrade everything from weight capacity to how many cars can be there.” Mayor Eric Adams