A four-story parking lot collapsed in New York City, US authorities said Tuesday, killing at least one worker and injuring five others who were in the building.
Emergency personnel deployed robotic devices after firefighters were pulled from the collapsed structure due to unstable conditions. These bots continued to scan the site for more losses, but authorities said they believed everyone in the building had been found.
No criminal act was suspected. “We have no reason to believe it was anything other than a structural collapse,” city police commissioner Kishant Sewell told reporters.
Video footage from the site, cited by CBS and ABC news, showed a rescue operation in progress and several cars piled on top of each other amid crumpled concrete slabs.
One person was pronounced dead at the scene, four others were taken to area hospitals for their injuries, and a sixth casualty refused medical treatment, said John Esposito, chief of fire operations for the New York City Fire Department.
All six were described as workers who were in the parking lot when it collapsed.
“It was a very dangerous situation for our firefighters,” he said during a press briefing at the end of the afternoon.
Authorities said Pace University, a nearby academic institution in Manhattan whose students, faculty and staff use the parking lot, was evacuated as a precaution.
“This building is very unstable,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters.
Eyewitnesses said that the collapse was rapid and without warning.
“It all happened very quickly,” said Thai Nguyen, 35, who lives in Chinatown and is manager of the nearby Collective Club. “Our store is two blocks from the parking lot, and we also have a hotel next door. People ran inside and asked if they could take shelter in our store.”
“It felt like an earthquake,” Pace University student Liam Gita told an ABC News affiliate. He said he heard “a very loud noise and then we were all evacuated.”