Army engineers and one of Egypt’s leading contractors faced the delicate task of dismantling the top floors of a residential tower in Alexandria after it toppled last week, coming to rest against a building across the street.
Inhabitants of the leaning tower built in 2002 were evacuated, as were residents in surrounding buildings, after the 13-storey tower toppled on Wednesday, 31 May.
Authorities cordoned off the area around the precarious structure and trams were halted in case vibrations caused it to disintegrate, local media report.
Police arrested the owner of the building on Saturday, 3 June. A report said the owner, Mervat Awad Nasr, would be referred for prosecution.
Demolition of the unstable building in Azarita neighbourhood resumed yesterday for the third day by the armed forces’ engineering division in conjunction with the city’s governorate, the security department and Egypt’s Arab Contractors Company.
Reports said the army was guarding against looters and supervising the return of property in the apartments to residents.
An official told media that the building’s foundations collapsed after the demolition of an adjacent 3-storey building.
A security source who spoke on condition of anonymity told reporters that the building was built in 2002 and a removal order was issued for it in 2004, but the the tenants opted to remain at their own risk.
The day after the collapse Alexandria Governor Mohamed Sultan said all emergency housing had been provided for the evacuees and that those responsible for the incident would be held accountable.
In reports today one official, Ali Morsy, head of central Alexandria district, said the the top three floors had now been removed.
While the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collapse are ongoing, he commented that building owners often illegally add extra floors in contravention of permissions.
Image: A picture taken on 1 June 2017 shows the 13-storey building toppled into the building across the street in the Azarita neighbourhood of Alexandria, Egypt (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)