The collapse of the Hualien building crushes three vehicles

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NO INJURIES:
The district government said it was in contact with a construction company to try to rule out people in the rubble

  • By Wang Chun-chi and Jake Chung / Staff Reporter, with Staff Writer

The seven-story Manbo Hotel (曼波 假期 飯店) in Hualien County collapsed during the demolition yesterday afternoon, crushing three vehicles.

There were no injuries at the time of going to press last night, local authorities said.

The Hualien County Police Department said it was checking footage from CCTV cameras along the road after reports reported that a scooter driver was crushed in the collapse.

Photo courtesy of a member of the public via CNA

However, the rider, surnamed Wang (王), called the county government to report that he was safe and went to the nearest police station to sign an affidavit.

The county government said it was in contact with Bai Sheng Construction Co (百盛 營造), which was responsible for the demolition, to see if there might be any people trapped in the rubble.

If there isn’t, the department said it would use heavy machinery to clear the debris and work through the night to restore road access by 10 a.m. today, though rains in the area would make the process difficult.

Photo courtesy of a reader

The district government has set up a Category 1 Disaster Response Center over the collapsed building.

It said it has asked concerned authorities to provide documents, including permits and licenses, regarding Bai Sheng and its demolition plans in order to better understand what may have caused the building to collapse.

The Hualien County Fire Department said there had been multiple fires related to the crushed vehicles. Parts of the collapsed building also struck a transformer from Taiwan Power Co (台電) in the area, causing a temporary power outage in the immediate vicinity of Guolian 5th Road and Guomin 9th Street.

Power was restored to most users at 4:30 p.m. yesterday.

Bai Sheng’s subcontractor Ya Guo Construction Co (亞 國 機械) said yesterday that the building’s front support pillars could be broken due to earthquakes or during the demolition process and could not support the weight of the building.

Additional reporting by CNA

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