NEW YORK (PIX11) — Willis Moore, the 59-year-old worker who died when a parking garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan Tuesday, was a grandfather who was larger than life, according to friends and neighbors.
“(He was) very outgoing. When we were younger he used to provide tickets to Six Flags. He was in our lives and when it would snow, I would shovel his driveway,” said neighbor Jaeden Hurst.
Moore had five children and three grandchildren with one on the way, his son told PIX11 News.
The collapse happened around 4:15 p.m. on Ann Street, between Nassau and Williams Streets in the Financial District. At the time, there were six workers inside the building according to John Esposito, the FDNY’s chief of operations. Four of the workers were hospitalized in stable condition, and one worker declined medical attention.
Moore was in his office with some of his colleagues when the floors came crashing down. The victim’s co-workers were able to run to safety, but he was unable to make it out, said Alessy Hernandez, a manager at a garage nearby.
Authorities eventually recovered his body from the structure on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
“The main area that the second floor came into was where the manager had his work desk. And at the same time, one of the supervisors that were pulled out on a stretcher was able to be removed from the building,” Hernandez said.
The garage was constructed in 1920 and originally designed for horses and buggies, a far lighter load than the 50 cars that were parked in the structure at the time of the incident. The building had four open violations, including one for cracks from 2003, records show. The DOB said the second and third floors collapsed into the building’s footprint.
“I feel really sad. I had known Willis for 10 years now, the cars can be replaced but people can not,” said Adam Cohen a resident of a nearby building that had to be evacuated. “It can be five or more weeks before I go home, but Willis’ death is really sad.”