LOWER MANHATTAN - Following last week’s deadly parking garage collapse in Lower Manhattan, the city's buildings department now says it is conducting an emergency review of 61 locations with parking garages that have structural flaws and require immediate attention.
All 61 buildings have what is classified as 'class one' violations that remain open.
"Certainly, your class one violation is the most extreme violation you can get outside of a vacate order," said engineering expert Eric C. Cowley.
What is a Class 1 violation?
- Class 1 violations means the building conditions pose a threat to life, safety or property and warrants immediate corrective action.
The DOB reportedly hasn’t been alerted that any of the buildings are structurally unstable, but inspectors are checking them out as an extra precaution.
The garage collapse last Tuesday killed the parking manager and injured five employees.
There are approximately 4,000 parking structures in New York City, with more than 1,400 of them located in Manhattan, according to the city.
A spokesperson for the DOB tells FOX 5 they have not received reports of any of the 61 buildings being structurally unstable. Nonetheless, the agency is carrying out emergency inspections out of "an abundance of caution."
Sources say last week's collapse might have happened because there was too much weight on the roof. With more than 50 SUVs packed on top, sources think that could have been the ultimate cause of the collapse.
Experts expect the city will consider new rules when it comes to where SUVs and electric vehicles, which are heavier than regular cars, can be stored within a parking structure.
"You could have special areas for them near the perimeter or lower floors," said Cowley. "That center span would be a problem. And also, obviously, as you can imagine, as buildings age, and they get used, they decay a little bit. You start eroding the safety factors that we engineers put into our designs."
One source tells FOX 5 they expect the emergency inspections of the 61 buildings to be completed in a matter of days.
Vehicles still on site
Meanwhile, numerous drivers are still without their cars and residents who live next to the garage remain displaced.
"It’s been stuck," said Brent Aurricho, whose Mercedes C300 is inside a parking garage at 27 Beekman St. "It’s been right behind that gate over there since the other garage fell."
According to the city, the demolition could be a threat to the stability of the surrounding structures, as the parking garage could still be in danger of further collapse.
Crews worked Monday to brace the walls that are left, including the third floor of a Pace University dorm. The students who were living there have been placed in temporary housing.
Broken and cracked concrete can be seen all around the garage. Still remaining inside the structure are dozens of cars filled with gasoline and electric batteries, which pose a separate threat.
"The ongoing operation at 57 Ann St. is incredibly complex," said Zachary Iscol, commissioner of NYCEM. "It’s also very, very dangerous and remains dangerous."
The city recommends drivers who have cars stuck inside the garage contact their insurance, especially as the demolition might destroy the vehicles.
Residents are hoping to be allowed back in to get their belongings sometime this week.