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56 Zapata, where two people died in the September 19 earthquake. 56 Zapata, where two people died in the September 19 earthquake.

Building’s demolition is taking some time

As is the search for the builders of the Mexico City apartments, who appear to have fled

The demolition of an earthquake-damaged apartment building at 56 Zapata street in Mexico City is going slowly, as is the search for those responsible for its construction. Authorities say they have fled.

The demolition of the six-story building began last Thursday, when Benito Juárez borough officials estimated it would take five days to complete. Now they say it will take a month.

“You go in scared because the building is severely damaged, but we have to keep going,” one of the workers told the newspaper El Universal.

Given the precarious condition the 24-unit building was in after the September 19 earthquake, the demolition of the top two floors is now being done by hand. Once those floors have been dealt with, heavy machinery will be able to go in and bring down the remaining four floors.

The demolition will cost the taxpayers of Benito Juárez one million pesos, or about US $53,600, borough officials said.

Meanwhile, the principals of Canada Building Systems (CBS) have yet to be located by authorities after being charged with intentional homicide and fraud.

Only one arrest has been made in the more than two months since the building’s poor construction was revealed in the earthquake. Jaime Smith, the DRO, or director responsible for construction, was arrested in October.

The head of the consumer protection agency Profeco called the owners of the company a “bunch of thieves who fled.”

“The local Attorney General’s office is looking for them, the Commission for the Protection of Financial Services Users is looking for them, and I’m looking for them,” Rogelio Cerda Pérez told the newspaper Milenio.

“It is very likely that they’ll soon be located by Interpol. I believe they’ll issue an alert, but not a red one yet,” he said.

Cerda explained that several summons have been sent to the firm’s many registered addresses, but all that government officials have found upon arrival have been empty warehouses.

“If they’re not hiding anything,” he said, “why did they flee? I think that the worst thing they can do is flee, but I’ve no doubt they’ll be found.”

Two people died inside the building after the earthquake struck.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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