Ceiling falls from old building, five trapped

Part of the ceiling of an old building downtown fell yesterday, trapping five people. The accident occurred at a three-floor structure located on Rua Nova do Comércio near San Ma Lo (Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro). Fire services were called to the rescue. Five people were trapped in the building, but sustained no injuries.
More than one sixth of the ceiling collapsed, leaving two holes in the roof.
Most inhabitants of the building are tenants. One of them, Mr Ng, told TDM Chinese channel that the top floor of the building was divided into several partitioned flats, each measuring some 50 square feet. Another elderly tenant, surnamed Tseng, said he had rented one of these partitioned flats for MOP70 per month for 70 years. Alleging that he informed the property owner many times about the building’s safety concerns, the tenant argued that the owner told him that the building was not repairable, but that he could still live there if he wanted to. However, the property owner Mr Wong has another version of the events. He says that he urged tenants to leave the building. “I’ve told them (tenants) not to live inside, since the building is so old. But they continue to live here.”
The Fire Services Bureau said that the structure was not in immediate danger and informed the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau so that it might follow up.
The Social Welfare Bureau has arranged for the six affected tenants to move into the Center for Victims of Disaster in Ilha Verde.

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