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Apartment Building Collapses in Italy; 2 Dead Confirmed

The cause of the collapse remains unknown, but authorities were investigating whether it was related to renovation work in the building
By The News · 07 of July 2017 15:33:10
Firefighters work at the site where a building that collapsed in Torre Annunziata, near Naples, southern Italy, Friday, July 7, 2017, Firefighters work at the site where a building that collapsed in Torre Annunziata, near Naples, southern Italy, Friday, July 7, 2017, photo: ANSA/Ciro Fusco, via AP

MILAN – Rescue workers have identified two bodies in the rubble of a five-story apartment building that partially collapsed south of Naples early Friday, firefighters said.

Crews have been digging mostly by hand to find seven people reported missing in the residential building along a passenger railway line in the seaside town of Torre Annunziata, four kilometers (three miles) from the Pompeii archaeological site.

The cause of the collapse remains unknown, but authorities were investigating whether it was related to renovation work in the building.

Officials had said seven people, including two children, were missing. An elderly resident who had been believed to be inside was later accounted for.

Witnesses said there was no explosion before the collapse sometime after 6 a.m., but that a train had just passed, according to ANSA.

Images show the structure partially collapsed, revealing the interiors of some apartments. Some 80 rescue workers were removing rubble mostly by hand, passing it out in buckets, as firefighters on long, retractable ladders checked the stability of the section that remained intact.

Firefighters asked for silence among onlookers during the search in the hopes of hearing survivors, and the work has been paused periodically to allow sniffer dogs to check the scene.

The train line that passes Mount Vesuvius and connects Naples with such tourist sites as Pompeii and the Amalfi coast was temporarily closed after the collapse. The Italian railway said in a statement that the vibrations from passing trains have no impact on the stability of adjacent buildings.

COLLEEN BARRY