LOWER MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Pace University students were forced to evacuate and classes were canceled Tuesday afternoon after a nearby parking garage partially collapsed in Lower Manhattan.
Students standing on the street expressed shock and concern. Some who were on the upper floors of neighboring buildings when the collapse occurred were able to see the destruction below.
Students and staff frequently used the parking garage. As a result, some have lost their vehicles.
One of the university dorms is located right next to the partially collapsed garage. On Tuesday night, all students were evacuated as officials worried about the building’s safety and structural integrity.
Hundreds of Pace University students were temporarily displaced when the building collapsed, killing one person and injuring several others. Authorities decided the safest thing to do was completely evacuate the student housing building.
“This bag is all I have. My laptop, clothes, medication, everything I had to leave behind,” one student said.
The college dorm is larger than the garage, but students said when the collapse happened, they felt the rumbling, the shaking and the power of thousands of tons of debris and vehicles crashing down. It was a shock when they ran outside and saw the debris.
A second university building was evacuated as well. Emergency responders quickly moved in and shut down the surrounding area to make way for fire trucks and ambulances.
The street closures brought business in the area to a standstill. Getting to dozens of restaurants, stores, and other nearby buildings was nearly impossible for hours.
Pace students said their thoughts were with the victims who were in the garage at the time of the collapse. Their thoughts were also on what comes next for them and their fellow students.
Pace University said they’d made accommodations for all of the displaced students. But, aside from that, the disaster also threw school classes, projects and exams into mass confusion.
All classes were canceled, although it’s unclear whether any classes will be online or in person on Wednesday. It’s also unclear when students will be allowed to return to their dorm rooms.
As of Tuesday night, authorities are ensuring that whatever affected the parking garage has nothing to do with the dorm or other school buildings.