|Rescuers carry 21-year-old Shen Dailu from the rubble on Friday afternoon after a residential building collapsed in Fenghua, Zhejiang province, in the morning. [Photo by Zhang Peijian/for China Daily]|
A building that collapsed in Fenghua, Zhejiang province, on Friday morning killing a woman, was registered as "unsafe" in December but no remedial measures were taken.
The woman was among seven people trapped after the five-story residential building crumbled to the ground at 8:45 am. All were pulled from the debris by the evening, but Chen Yuexiang, 68, died at a hospital.
Her 21-year-old granddaughter Shen Dailu survived after being trapped for about nine hours under a concrete slab. Shen and five other survivors were still receiving hospital treatment on Friday night.
Fifteen families were living in the collapsed section of the building, which was built in 1994. Residents in the remaining section and buildings nearby were evacuated, local authorities said.
Tong Aidi, 60, who lives in a building next door, said, "People were running and shouting that the building was going to collapse and suddenly it came down."
Tong said buildings in her neighborhood were partly damaged in October when Typhoon Fitow hit the city.
"I'd heard that the government was working on a plan to enhance the building, but it crumbled before it started to do anything," she said.
Most residents in the community, where the buildings are old and housing prices comparatively low, are elderly people, migrant workers and those from the countryside, according to a relative of Shan Jianlin, one of the survivors.
Shan, 40, was the sixth to be pulled from the debris. His sister said Shan bought an apartment in the building after getting married.
Local media said residents had reported cracks in a wall. Some windows and doors could not be closed properly, as the frames were twisted, the reports said.
One resident in the neighborhood told Xinhua News Agency he found cracks in the building in October.
"I reported it to government officials, but they said the building was safe for another couple of years," he said. "I even called the local television station about the safety problem this morning before the building came down."
Zhuo Houjia, deputy mayor of Fenghua, said at a news briefing that the building was registered by the local government in December as "unsafe".
Zhuo said the authorities began a survey of unsafe buildings in December 2012, but it took about a year to discover problems in the one that collapsed - building No 29 in the Jujing community.
The community has 200-plus similar buildings and is home to more than 10,000 people.
The local authority said it had been working on a repair plan for the building after the typhoon in 2013, but had made no evacuation plans, as officials did not believe the situation was that dangerous.
Residents in some other buildings in the community were evacuated when these buildings were considered unsafe two years ago, Xinhua News Agency said.