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90-people residence house near collapse in Uralsk 27 мая 2014, 00:12

Residents of one of the houses in Uralsk have been urgently evacuated due to the danger of collapse, which came from the construction work on its ground floor.
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The collapsed windows of the shop  © Dinara Urazova The collapsed windows of the shop © Dinara Urazova

Residents of one of the houses in Uralsk have been urgently evacuated after the building became unstable, Tengrinews reports.

This emergency was caused by construction works in the shop located on the first floor of the house. The shop owner decided to improve her show window and enlarged the window openings. Then, during replacement of the window frames, the second floor slabs caved in on the first floor windows and sprung a crack stretching to the top of the house.

"I came home from work at about 2 p.m., I live on the third floor. Five minutes later I heard a rumble, and cracks appeared on the walls and ceiling, we ran onto the street, window frames in our apartment sagged,” said Gulyara, one of the residents of the house.

Rescue services arrived on the site along with senior officials. The mayor of the city of Uralsk Altai Kulginov, police chief Manarbek Gabdullin, deputy mayor Uryngaliyev Galim, and deputy of the city maslihat [representative body] Avetik Amirkhanyan were among the officials who came to the scene.

"We were replacing the old windows with new plastic ones, everything was almost ready, and we started foaming around the windows, when suddenly everything collapsed," the construction workers told the police.

According to the residents, during the repair works, the construction workers were "mercilessly drilling and hammering on the wall to enlarge the window openings."

“Engineers have to inspect the arrangement of the bearing walls, the danger is serious, cracks are already up to the third floor. The house might collapse at any moment," officer of the Uralsk Emergency Department Rustam Nizamov said.
The danger is also exacerbated by the age of the house, which was built in 1961. Both electricity and gas have been shut down.

To prevent looting, a cordon was put around the house. On Saturday evening, people housed above the shop were assisted into their apartments by rescue workers and police to give them an opportunity to collect their most precious things, including documents. The people were entering in small groups following a list of the residents put together by the authorities. However, the house started trembling and ceiling beams began to shake right after the first group entered. So people collecting their belongings felt very uncomfortable. 

A whole stretch of the road was cordoned off as well. Public transport routes had to be changed and traffic pressure on the neighboring roads increased.

Ninety people reside in the building. However, only the residents of one communal entrance hallway housed directly over the shop were evacuated. The rest of the residents of the house remain in the building.

Those evacuated went to spend the night with their relatives and friends. The authorities promised to provide temporary housing to those who have nowhere to go.

As the head of disaster management of Uralsk Talgat Yedilbayev said, the entrance porch and all the apartments were sealed and police officers were on duty during the whole night. An emergency team placed 58 support poles to prevent the building from caving in any further. A special commission was formed to decide on further measures. "Most importantly, all the people were evacuated in time and there are no victims and no injuries," Yedilbayev said.

On Monday the place remains evacuated and there are no sign of works being done.

By Dinara Urazova



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