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Construction site where four houses collapsed yesterday. Construction site where four houses collapsed yesterday.

4 houses destroyed; tower project blamed

1 person dead, 1 missing after collapse of houses next to construction site

The construction of a 23-story building in the capital of Nuevo León was suspended in October but that was too late to prevent one person’s death after four adjacent houses collapsed yesterday.

Eliud González Salazar was killed when his house fell, while his wife, Irma Barbosa López, is missing.

A third woman, Esthela Salazar de Bamboa, was rescued alive but injured in the ruins of another home.

The ambitious Torre Vía project is an office and commercial development — 23 floors above a 10-level underground parking garage — being built by the construction firm Legosa.

But on October 30, after structural damage to neighboring homes was discovered, state authorities ordered a suspension of all work on the site. Excavation of the underground parking lot was blamed for the damage to the homes.

Legosa attempted to obtain an amparo, or injunction, from a federal judge to protect the company against a suspension order, but it was denied.

The construction firm has been facing legal complaints by neighbors since then.

Yesterday, a retaining wall erected to prevent further damage to the neighboring dwellings collapsed, resulting in the immediate collapse of three houses. A fourth dwelling was severely compromised and it collapsed two hours later.

The municipal government ordered the evacuation of 30 more homes in the upscale area, where houses are worth between 3 million and 7 million pesos.

The four dwellings that collapsed had been evacuated earlier after Civil Protection officials ruled they were not habitable.

But the owners of at least one house were inside at the time of the collapse, accompanied by representatives from Legosa and an insurance company, assessing the damage already caused to their property.

Today, there is nothing left to assess.

Source: El Universal (sp), ABC (sp)

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