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Emergency service specialists work at a store with a collapsed roof in Riga November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
Image: Reuters

Fatal Riga cave-in injures dozens

November 21, 2013

Several people have been killed and dozens injured after the collapse of a supermarket roof in Latvia's capital, Riga. The building was listed as one of the country's best works of architecture.


At least 32 people died and at least 30 more were injured on Thursday evening when a large section of a Latvian grocery store's roof collapsed where workers were reportedly planting a winter garden, rescue officials said.

Two firefighters were among those killed. Seven people were injured after another part of the roof fell on rescue workers as they began searching for survivors.

It was unclear how many people remained trapped in the store. Earlier, news agency RIA Novosti quoted Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs as saying 70 people were trapped in the building. Latvian TV said three cranes were working to remove concrete blocks from the roof so firemen could get to those inside, but that rescue services feared another collapse.

Witnesses told Latvian media they heard an explosion, but there were reports that a garden with trees and plants was being built on the store's large roof. Sembele confirmed that there may have been additional construction, which apparently included a large amount of soil.

The shopping center was only 2 years old. At the time of its completion, the building was listed as one of the country's three best works of architecture. Usakovs has ordered authorities to review all other structures built by the company that constructed the center.

ccp/dr (AFP, dpa, AP)

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