Kenya building collapses; 1 dead, others trapped

AP News
Posted: Dec 17, 2014 11:38 AM
Kenya building collapses; 1 dead, others trapped

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — One person died and others are feared trapped or dead after a five-story residential building collapsed in downtown Nairobi, a police official said Wednesday.

Nairobi deputy police chief Moses Ombati said the victim died on his way to hospital after being rescued from the debris.

The Kenyan Red Cross tweeted that seven people were pulled out alive from the rubble of the building that fell down in the early hours.

Jonathan Mueke, the Deputy Governor of Nairobi County, said authorities are focusing on the search and rescue operation and will later investigate why the building collapsed.

Rescuers started pulling survivors out of the rubble before earth movers were brought in to remove the heavy slabs.

A sixth floor was being added to the building, Hesketh Isigi said, adding that his brother had complained about a huge crack on the wall of the ground floor. Isigi's brother, Lawicky Mukagat, 26, was trapped inside the rubble, he said.

Mukagat called him around 3 a.m. and told him the house had collapsed and he needed help. Isigi said he rushed to the site.

"The last time I spoke to him he only asked for water and the phone charge went off. I fear for the worst," Mukagat said.

Because of high demand for housing in Nairobi, some property developers often bypass building regulations to cut costs and maximize profits, especially when the building is in a low-market area. Architectural Society of Kenya had previously estimated that 50 percent of structures in Nairobi are not up to code.