TIRUCHY: An one-year infant was miraculously rescued from the debris of a three-storey building that collapsed near the Rockfort Temple in Tiruchy early on Sunday morning.
Four persons including the infant Angala Parameshwari’s parents — Palani (30) and Rasathi (26) were killed, while five others were seriously injured. Rescue personnel have blamed the collapse on torrential rain and renovation work being undertaken at the adjoining premises. Police have registered a case of negligence and arrested the owner.
According to residents of the Thanjavur Kura Street, where all buildings sit cheek by jowl, the accident occured around 4 am on Sunday. Tremors were first felt on the ground floor, where siblings Vinoth Kumar (20) and Vigneshwaran (17) were staying. “Pieces of bricks started falling from the wall,” said Vinoth, who was awake at that time, watching a movie. He soon woke up his brother and fled to their aunt’s house, located in the same street.
In the next few minutes, the entire building, which housed four families, collapsed with a loud thud. Neighbours woke up to the sound and informed the police, who then alerted the Fire and Rescue Services personnel. Eight persons were trapped in the debris. The impact of the collapse was also felt in the adjacent building, injuring two persons.
y 6 am three members of a family -- Karthika (29), Karthik (36) and Harish Raj (6) -- were rescued. However, only Karthika survived. It took a massive seven-hour operation to find members of the family that lived in the first floor -- Palani (30), his wife Rasathi (26) and daughter Angala Parameshwari (1-year-old). While her parents were found dead under the rubble, the infant miraculously escaped the disaster. Injured have been admitted to the Tiruchy Government Hospital and are being treated for bone and neck injuries.
While the collapse was reported promptly, at around 4 am, it took time for the rescue equipment (crane and earthmovers) to be brought inside the congested street, say witnesses. Police have registered a case against 70-year old Kannappan, landlord of the property for negligence. The owner, who constructed structure about 50 years back, was bewildered to see it razed to the ground.
Tenants claim they have been complaining about the weakening of the structure for quite some time. The actual problem, they say, started a week ago when the owner of the adjacent 900 square feet plot decided to demolish a building on his land. This, they say, weakend the structure.
This is not a new development in the congested quarters of Tiruchy, neither is it likely to be the last. In fact, this is the third such incident in the recent times. On October 22, two persons died after a building in the congested Natharsha Mosque locality came down. On December 23, 2015, four people died when a portion of an under-construction building collapsed in Srirangam. Later in the day, Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami announced a total ex-gratia of `4 lakh each to the next of kin of the victims.