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Investigation into deadly building collapse to be launched

2016/02/06 13:26:12

An ariel view of Tainan's Gueiren District. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense)

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) Officials promised investigation into a collapsed building in Tainan, where several people were killed in an earthquake early Saturday.

Four residents of the 16-story building, called Weiguan Jinlong, were killed after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit at 3:57 a.m. The building was completed in November 1994, said Hsu Wun-long (許文龍), head of the Interior Ministry's Construction and Planning Agency.

[From the NAtional Airborne Service Corp.]

During a press briefing, Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) said that an investigation will be launched to clarify responsibility in the collapse, although the two companies behind the construction of the building have both ceased operations, and only the architecture firm is still in business.

It was not uncommon that construction companies closed after completing a building project, but the architect will be contacted for the investigation, Hsu noted.

According to Chen, 256 people from 96 families are registered residents in the collapsed building, but the exact number of people living there remain unclear.

The ministry set up a Central Emergency Operation Center shortly after 4 a.m., following reports that several buildings in Tainan collapsed in the earthquake, with residents trapped inside.

Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te (賴清德) also said he will order an investigation into the collapse of the buildings, after residents raised concerns about the safety of Weiguan Jinlong after they found cooking oil cans in debris of pillars of the building.

As of 11:50 a.m., a total of five deaths have been reported, along with 378 injuries, according to the ministry.

(By Ku Chuan, Chang Jung-hsiang, Evelyn Kao and Kay Liu; click here for the full coverage of the earthquke aftermath.)