clear
Sunday November 19th, 2017 7:03PM
8:34AM ( 10 hours ago ) Weather Alert

Mexico official: Warnings over school ignored before quake

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexico City borough president said officials from a previous administration ignored warnings that unauthorized construction work had damaged the structural integrity of a school that collapsed during a powerful earthquake.

The death toll from the magnitude 7.1 quake which hit Sept. 19 reached 358 on Friday, as the search continued for bodies in the debris of some downed buildings.

The school became a symbol of the tragedy when a three-story wing of the building pancaked, killing 26 people including 19 children. Photos over the years suggested an increasingly heavy fourth story had been gradually added to the wing.

Borough president Claudia Sheinbaum said late Thursday that inspectors issued a report in November 2013 and warned the borough's judicial director at the time that work on the third floor and illegally added fourth floor were "damaging structural elements that affect the stability of the building."

The privately operated elementary and middle school was apparently allowed to complete the work by paying a fine equivalent to about $1,600 at the time.

"The file was closed, with a fine of 21,000 pesos. Outrageous," Sheinbaum said. She added that she has filed a criminal complaint against the former judicial director, a person who held the same post later and "whoever else may be responsible."

Sheinbaum, who took office in 2015, had said earlier there was unauthorized expansion work at the school since around 2010.

Another borough closer to the city center also filed criminal complaints against two developers for two buildings that partially or completely collapsed, killing at least three people. The borough of Benito Juarez accused the two firms of having "used low-quality materials, lying and evading the law."

One of the buildings was only about a year old and advertised its apartments as being structurally sound and quake-resistant. The other, a six story rental apartment building, was apparently built in the last year atop the unreinforced structure of a decades-old four-story building.

The vast majority of the collapses and deaths occurred in buildings constructed under looser regulations prior to a 1985 quake that killed thousands in Mexico City.

However the three buildings cited in the criminal complaints involved more recent construction. The school was started in 1983 but then expanded in the last decade.

Most of the rubble has been cleared away from the 38 sites where buildings collapsed in the capital, leaving only a few active recovery efforts.

National Civil Defense chief Luis Felipe Puente reported Friday on Twitter that the quake's toll had risen to 358, including 217 dead in Mexico City.

There were also fatalities in the states of Morelos, Mexico State, Guerrero and Oaxaca, as well as Puebla state, where the epicenter was located.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: San Juan mayor pushes back on Trump admin
President Donald Trump is defending his response to Puerto Rico's hurricane destruction and says "big decisions" are coming on the cost of rebuilding the island.
10:04AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Mexico official: Warnings over school ignored before quake
A Mexico City borough president says officials from a previous administration ignored warnings that unauthorized construction at a school that collapsed during the Sept. 19 quake was damaging the building structurally
10:02AM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Mexico: Warnings over school ignored pre-quake
A Mexico City borough president says officials from a previous administration ignored warnings that unauthorized construction at a school that collapsed during the Sept. 19 quake was damaging the building structurally
9:49AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Russia's Navalny, associates detained ahead of rally
Police have taken Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny into custody in Moscow and detained his associates in a city where he was heading for a rally
9:32AM ( 51 minutes ago )
Stampede on crowded Indian pedestrian bridge leaves 22 dead
Indian officials say a stampede broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in Mumbai during the morning rush, killing at least 22 people and injuring 32 others
9:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Irbil official: How do you hand over an airport?
The general director of Irbil International Airport says Kurdish authorities are unaware of how to comply with Baghdad's demand to hand the airport over to federal authorities to avert a threatened flight ban
8:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
The Latest: San Juan mayor pushes back on Trump admin
President Donald Trump is defending his response to Puerto Rico's hurricane destruction and says "big decisions" are coming on the cost of rebuilding the island.
10:04AM ( 19 minutes ago )
The Latest: Mexico: Warnings over school ignored pre-quake
A Mexico City borough president says officials from a previous administration ignored warnings that unauthorized construction at a school that collapsed during the Sept. 19 quake was damaging the building structurally
9:49AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Rhetoric heats up over Catalonia independence vote
Farm trucks and tractors of every size and description are rolling into Barcelona to protect polling stations for Catalonia's independence vote on Sunday, as Catalan and Spanish authorities issued conflicting statements on the vote
9:45AM ( 38 minutes ago )
AP sources: US cuts embassy staff, urges no travel to Cuba
Senior U.S. officials say the United States is pulling roughly 60 percent of its staff out of Cuba and warning American travelers not to visit due to "specific attacks" that have harmed U.S. diplomats
9:44AM ( 39 minutes ago )
The Latest: Iraq PM says flight ban on Kurds not 'siege'
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the flight ban set to go into effect this evening is not intended to "starve" the Kurdish people
9:35AM ( 49 minutes ago )