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Egypt prosecutors order arrest of factory owner after collapse kills one, injures 22

Authorities says five more of the factory's workers are believed to be dead and still trapped in the wreckage after the building tumbled early Sunday

Ahram Online , Monday 15 Sep 2014
Factory
TV footage shows the rescue operation after a three-storey factory collapsed in Obour City , east of Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, 14 September, 2014
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Egypt's prosecutors have ordered the detention of a building contractor and the arrest of the owner of a plant which crumbled early on Sunday allegedly due to a building violation, leaving at least one dead, state news agency MENA said.

The clothes-dyeing factory in Obour City, east of Cairo, fell down in the early morning, with investigations showing that the collapse, which has injured 22 others, was due to a third storey that was illegally built, MENA added.

Building collapses are commonplace in Egypt and are usually blamed on violations of building specifications, shoddy materials and lax construction regulations.

TV footage showed the factory reduced to rubble with several workers still trapped in the wreckage until Sunday night. Families of the victims and locals have blamed a slow rescue operation by the civil defence team.

Earlier in the day sniffer dogs found that an estimated five persons trapped in the wreckage were dead, said senior civil defence official Gamal El-Tarouty in comments to satellite channel Dream TV at the scene of the collapse.

Diggers and loaders operated for over 12 hours but heavier equipment was needed to lift reinforced concrete walls and pick up the bodies of the victims, El-Tarouty said.

Prosecutors have ordered the detention of the building contractor responsible for the illegal floor's construction, Abdel-Rahman Abdullah, pending further investigations. Arrest orders have been issued for the factory's owner and construction engineer.

Dismissing accusations of negligence, Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said rescue workers had to operate cautiously and slowly through the day so that that they could salvage those stranded alive in the wreckage.

He added, however, in phone comments to Dream TV that "whoever is responsible, either directly or indirectly, will be held to account."
 

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