Contractor Charged for Cairo Building Collapse
Prosecutors charged a contractor with wrongful death and violation of building regulations in the collapse of an apartment building that killed 16 people, police officials said Monday, according to the Associated Press the same day.
AP said prosecutors also summoned for questioning the consulting engineer in charge of the five-story building in downtown Cairo that collapsed before dawn Sunday, the officials said.
Police arrested contractor Mohammed Mahmoud Khodeiry. A resident who fled the building minutes before its collapse, Um Ahmed, told reporters that the contractor had dug a long ditch next to the building on Saturday, saying it was to erect support rods. “Then he left without putting up the rods,” she said.
Rescuers worked until about 3 a.m. Monday before calling off the search for survivors at the site in Sayyida Zeinab district. Ambulance officials had said Sunday night that 17 bodies were retrieved, but the death toll was corrected to 16 after it was found that one of the bodies had been severed in half and counted twice.
Six residents who were presumed to be buried under the rubble turned out to be among those who had vacated the building hours before it collapsed.
District records show that after an 1992 earthquake that killed about 450 people, the building's owner, Yousri Mohammed Hosni, was ordered to renovate and repair the building because it had sustained structural damage.
Police said Monday that Hosni ignored the order until several weeks ago when he filed a request for a renovation permit with the distinct council.
Hosni's body was among those found under the rubble on Sunday.
Residents say they paid $330 a piece less than a week ago to have the building repaired. A half-hour before the collapse, they had finished a meeting to discuss renovations, including reinforcement supports and repairs to the concrete -- Albawaba.com.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)