BEIRUT (AFP) – A six-storey aluminum factory collapsed on Thursday in a northern suburb of Beirut, trapping three people under the rubble, two of whom remain missing, a civil defence official said.
“The building crumbled to the ground at 6:15 am (0315 GMT) in an industrial area in Zouk Mosbeh,” some 15 kilometres (nine miles) north of the capital, Brigadier General Darwish Hobeika told AFP.
“We have found a 35-year-old Lebanese man who was trapped in the building,” he said. “Our team has maintained communication with him and we expect him to be pulled from the rubble shortly.”
Hobeika, who is overseeing the rescue efforts, said civil defence forces were still looking for two Indian labourers who were in the factory when all six storeys suddenly caved in, adding that they might be trapped in the basement.
He did not rule out shoddy construction as a possible reason for the collapse but said officials would wait until the investigation was complete before announcing the cause.
“We are also concerned about the surrounding buildings, which are all factories and are subject to continuous shaking and vibrations,” Hobeika said.
“If there is ever an earthquake in the area, not one building would be left standing.”