Hundreds of emergency responders rushed to the scene of a five-story building collapse in Mumbai on Friday, frantically searching the rubble for survivors and hoping the death toll of four wouldn’t rise.
“The building collapsed suddenly at 6 a.m. this morning,” said Tanaji Ghodge, a deputy police commissioner, in The New York Times. “We don’t know how many people will come out of the rubble yet. The rescue operation is going on in full force.”
This is the fifth building collapse nearby Mumbai this year — and at least one witness said that government officials had already issued warnings for this building’s owners to make necessary upgrades and repairs, The Times reported.
“The municipal corporation has given two notices to repair the building as it was not safe, but they did not do anything about it,” said Murli Khadpekar, who said he was awoken Friday morning about 5:53 to a loud crash. He ran outside and saw the Babu Genu Market building in shambles, crumbled by the fall of the building’s water tank, located on the roof.
Authorities said they haven’t yet determined what caused the water tank to topple, leading to the building collapse. They also said it’s too early to tell how many are trapped. But nearby residents said the building contained more than 100 people, and most were inside when the roof fell.
The facility had about 24 one-room apartments, all rented and occupied, said one neighbor, in The Times.