Wreckage of Cuernavaca's Torre Latino. Wreckage of Cuernavaca's Torre Latino.

Looting followed fall of Cuernavaca tower

After residents fled the Torre Latino, others entered to rob apartments

Reports abound of people helping others in the wake of Tuesday’s earthquake, but some have also been helping themselves.

When a part of the Torre Latinoamericana, an iconic landmark in the city of Cuernavaca, Morelos, collapsed during the quake, those inside fled to safety. After they did so, others went in and took what they could.

The 11-story building was built in the 1940s and in its heyday the hotel at the Torre Latino, with its 52 suites, broad gardens, event halls and a bowling alley, attracted the rich and famous from across the country.

In 1982, the hotel closed its doors, but two years later a renovation turned it into an apartment building.

The most emblematic feature of the Torre Latino was its central, five-story apartments tower. On Tuesday, the tower fell on to the six stories below, destroying that side of the building and killing a man who was waiting for a bus on the curb.

A structural damage assessment made hours later by the local Civil Protection office determined it was likely that the whole building would have to be demolished.

The building’s manager told the newspaper El Universal that as staff and residents were evacuating the building, many individuals entered, breaking into apartments and stealing the contents.

“We were outside [of the building] all evening long, trying to keep people from going in but many did so. There was even a man in uniform among them,” said Antonio Glumber.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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