A four-story parking structure has collapsed in the United States city of New York on Tuesday, killing at least one worker and injuring five others who were in the building, authorities said.
Emergency personnel deployed robotic devices after firefighters were pulled back from the fallen structure because of unstable conditions. Those robots continued to check the site for any further casualties, but authorities said they believed everyone who was in the building had been accounted for.
No foul play was suspected. “We have no reason to believe that it was anything other than a structural collapse,” City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell told reporters.
Video footage from the scene, cited by CBS and ABC TV news affiliates, showed a rescue operation underway and multiple cars stacked on top of one another amid crumpled slabs of concrete.
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One person was pronounced dead on the scene, four more were taken to area hospitals for injuries and a sixth individual who was hurt declined medical treatment, said John Esposito, the chief of fire operations for the New York City Fire Department.
He described all six as workers who were in the parking structure when it collapsed.
“This was an extremely dangerous situation for our firefighters,” he said in a late-afternoon news briefing.
Pace University, a nearby academic institution in lower Manhattan whose students, faculty and staff use the parking structure, was evacuated as a precaution, authorities said.
“This building is completely unstable,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters.
Witnesses said the collapse was swift and without warning.
“It all happened so fast,” said Thai Nguyen, 35, who lives in Chinatown and is a manager of the nearby Kollective Klub. “Our store is two buildings from the parking garage, and we also have a hotel next to us. People ran inside asking if they could take refuge inside our store.”
“It felt like an earthquake,” Liam Gaeta, a Pace University student, told an ABC News affiliate. He said he heard “a large noise and a big rumbling, and then we all got evacuated”.