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Apartment Building Collapses, Kills 16 People

August 19, 1988

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ An apartment building collapsed today in a crowded neighborhood, killing 16 tenants and injuring nine. Rescue teams searched the rubble for more bodies, police said.

The five-story building housed 60 people in Shubra, a low-income area on the city’s northern outskirts. It crumbled early today, the Moslem Sabbath, while most of its inhabitants were starting their day, said a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Three adjacent buildings, whose walls suffered damage by the collapse, and four more neighboring houses were declared dangerous and their tenants evacuated, the officer said.

The area was cordoned off and rescue teams were searching the rubble for survivors or trapped bodies. The number of missing and rescued people was not known, the officer said.

″I heard a sound of explosion,″ said Zeinab Ibrahim, a tenant who lost two of her eight children.

″The sound grew louder, and we ran downstairs, most of us were outside except for the two children when the house fell,″ she said.

Unlike many houses in Egypt that collapse because of age, the building in Shubra was only 5 years old but had been poorly built.

Its tenants recently agreed to help put up missing support beams, and some of them evacuated their homes a few days ago when they heard the warning sounds of cracking walls, witnesses said.

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