SAO PAULO (AP) – A commercial building under construction in Brazil’s biggest city collapsed Tuesday, killing at least six people and sending large chunks of rubble and a blanket of dust onto nearby vehicles.
Another 24 people escaped or were pulled alive from the rubble and at least seven of those were in critical condition at hospitals, authorities said. It was possible another eight people remained trapped.
“The work of finding victims requires patience and a skilled search,” said Capt. Marcos Palumbo of the fire department. “The number of deaths is likely to rise. It’s a situation full of risk and difficult access. The teams haven’t had more contact with anybody else under the rubble.”
Palumbo told reporters at the scene it wasn’t yet clear what caused the two-story building to fall, but that an investigation was beginning.
About 60 firefighters carefully searched the rubble, stepping between twisted steel rebar and large chunks of red brick covered in concrete.
Some used sledge hammers to open holes in the ruins while others carried out sheets of metal roofing by hand. Dogs were brought in to help find victims, both alive and dead.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)