MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — A days-long demolition process at a parking garage that collapsed on Tuesday afternoon got underway Wednesday morning. The activity included the removal of the body of a man who died in the tragedy, which remains under investigation.

The victim was a manager at the garage, where three above-ground floors pancaked onto the ground floor and impacted one floor that was below street level. 

The victim was with other workers on-site when the floors suddenly gave way, according to Alessy Hernandez, a friend of the victim. Hernandez is a manager at a nearby garage. In his job, he came to know the victim as well as many of the other workers who fled the site. 

“When they started to leave, it’s because it was a big noise,” Hernandez said.

Since the collapse, which happened just after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Hernandez has had conversations with people who’ve spoken with the survivors, he said. The man who died, Hernandez said, was going about his usual routine managing the facility when tragedy struck. 

“The main area that the second floor came into was where the manager had his work desk,” Hernandez said. “And one of the supervisors was also there, but was able to be removed from the building.”

“They were in the office and tried to get out, but they lost contact and [the worker who died] was not seen out,” Hernandez continued. “I did know him really personally.”

Eight workers were inside the building at the time of the collapse, according to the FDNY.  

One worker, later identified as Willis Moore, died. Six other workers were hospitalized in stable condition, but released by Wednesday afternoon. One other worker declined medical attention, the FDNY said. 

Moore’s body was removed from the building around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Joe Esposito, a deputy commissioner at the Department of Buildings, said that crews were taking every precaution to remove the body with care and respect. The protocol was not only intended for the deceased victim, Esposito said, but to also ensure that recovery workers weren’t endangered by the structure’s instability. 

The demolition process featured heavy equipment, at first, pulling part of the structure’s brick walls down, and as each floor’s walls came down, different cars parked on that floor were removed. The FDNY estimated that up to 40 cars had been on-site at the building. It had been constructed around 1920 to house horses and buggies, according to the Department of Buildings. It had also recorded four open building code violations at the time of the collapse, two of which date back to 2003. Three of the violations involve concrete in the building being compromised in some way. 

However, late on Wednesday afternoon, the city updated its information, saying that the owner had obtained permits and made repairs for its cited problems in 2011, but didn’t file the proper paperwork indicating that. 

The city also indicated that the investigation remains open and that it’s in active communication with the building owner, which is listed under various names in city records, including Ann Street LLC and Western Carpet and Linoleum. Efforts by PIX11 News to reach the owners were not successful.