At least four persons, including a five-year-old boy, were killed and five others critically injured in the collapse of a 70 year-old residential building in Tiruchirappalli early on Sunday. An 18-month-old girl child of a deceased couple had a miraculous escape as she was pulled out safely from the debris hours after the collapse of the three-storey building.
The residents of the building were asleep when it collapsed around 3 AM, police and fire brigade officials said. The deceased were identified as Karthick (30), his son Harish (5) and the couple — Palani and Rajathi, they said.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami condoled the deaths and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of Karthick and his son Harish and said Rs 5 lakh will be deposited with the Tamil Nadu Power Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited as relief for the 18 month-old girl of the deceased couple.
He said a monthly interest of Rs 4062 from the deposit will be used for the child’s monthly expenses. The chief minister also announced Rs 50,000 as compensation for injured.
Officials said the ground floor of the building, located on the Thanjai Kula street, adjoining the Rockfort area, could have got weakened due to heavy rains overnight, leading to the collapse.
A total of 20 people lived in the building. One of the family was out from the city, while two of its residents ran out for safety after they felt some vibration. The five injured persons were admitted to a hospital, where their condition is stated to be critical, the police said. Twenty rescuers along with earth moving machines were pressed into service and the removal of the rubble was almost over by late afternoon, they said.
The bodies of the father and son were found about two hours after the rescue operations began. Karthik’s wife, Karthicka, was among those injured. She was rescued in an unconscious state and taken to the hospital, police said.