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Building collapses kill 11 in western India

August 28, 2013

VADODARA, India (AP) — Two adjacent apartment buildings collapsed early Wednesday in western India, killing at least 11 people, police and firefighters said.

Rescue workers pulled out 11 bodies and four badly injured people from the debris of the three-story buildings that fell in the city of Vadodara in Gujarat state, said fire chief Hitesh Taparia.

Most of the occupants of the 14 apartments in the first building were sleeping when it collapsed. The adjacent building was evacuated minutes before it fell, police officer Bhanu Pratap Parmar said.

The two buildings were part of 33 housing blocks constructed by the Gujarat government more than a decade ago to house the poor.

More than 250 rescue workers were working to clear debris from the site and search for survivors in the mountain of twisted metal, concrete slabs, bricks and mortar.

Taparia said the cause of the collapse was not immediately clear.

Police officials said there had been unusually heavy rain in Vadodara during the monsoon season and it could have damaged the buildings’ foundations.

The Gujarat government has ordered an investigation and will check for structural damage in the 31 other buildings in the complex, Taparia said.

Building collapses are common in India as builders cut corners by using substandard materials, and as multistory structures are often built with inadequate supervision.

Massive demand for housing around India’s cities and pervasive corruption often result in builders adding unauthorized floors or putting up illegal buildings.