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Morocco To Probe Building Collapse

December 10, 1999

RABAT, Morocco (AP) _ Moroccan authorities have opened an investigation into the collapse of a shoddily constructed building in the city of Fez that killed at least 31 people and injured 41 others, the official MAP news agency reported.

In a report Thursday, the agency quoted Mohammed Bouzoubaa, minister in charge of relations with parliament, as saying that investigators would question ``all people″ in connection with the collapse, including the architects and construction team.

The five-story building collapsed Wednesday in Fez, a city 125 miles west of the Moroccan capital, Rabat. It was one of a number of buildings that have gone up illegally in a wave of ``anarchic″ building, MAP reported.

Authorities had ruled in 1998 that it did not meet safety norms, the agency said.

Rescuers on Thursday managed to pull out alive a baby who had been cradled in his mother’s arms for 36-hours. The mother was also saved, the agency said. Rescuers also managed to save a 14-year-old girl from the rubble.

In January 1998, a hastily built apartment building collapsed in Fez, killing at least 17 people.

The four-story building, built just 10 years ago in a poor neighborhood after some residents had refused to leave when authorities had condemned their structure when cracks appeared.

Authorities in that incident had blamed the collapse on the building’s ``anarchic and clandestine construction.″

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