Poor construction has been blamed for the collapse of a house containing 13 apartments in the city of Guanajuato.
There were no injuries when the building that had been reconditioned as a dormitory for University of Guanajuato (UG) nursing school students collapsed about noon into a 15-meter-deep ravine.
Five students who were in their rooms when the incident occurred were able to escape in time.
Adolfo Ramos told the local newspaper Periódico Correo that the first indication that something out of the ordinary was happening was “a boom throughout the apartments, then a crack appeared and I heard the sound of something dropping. Then everything started to fall apart.”
Only five of the 13 apartments in the two-story building were occupied at the time. “As far as I know it was only us five in there,” said Ramos, who explained that the building was mostly empty because many students are already on vacation.
The five students had been lodging at the dorms for two years. The accident took away all their belongings, including clothing and electronic devices.
Some debris fell on to an adjacent automotive repair shop, severely damaging five or six vehicles.
A preliminary assessment suggested that poor construction techniques and excess weight were too much for the structure: a third floor was in the process of being added. That, coupled with moisture in the ground and deficiencies in the original construction, are suspected to have caused its collapse.
In the aftermath, university officials said the building was not accounted for in the local Civil Protection office safe dwelling registry, a certification that has been granted to houses that rent their rooms to students since 2006.
Still, the university’s security chief said the five students who survived the collapse are covered by insurance.
“We’re about to determine what the youths need; our main concern was to know if they were all right. Now that we know nobody was injured we’ll find lodging for them and help them with whatever they need,” said Raúl Morales Aguilar.
Source: Periódico Correo