By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
At least five construction workers narrowly escaped death, Thursday, when part of a building still under construction located beside Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja suddenly collapsed at about 3.20p.m.
The yet to be identified injured victims are currently receiving medical treatment at the Lagos State trauma Emergency Centre located at the Old Toll Gate where they were rushed to by staff of Lagos State Emergency Ambulance Service, LASAMBUS.
The building, which suffered partial collapsed due to structural defect, according to one of the engineers on site, was meant to house Shoprite Mall, Kentuckey Fried Chicken, KFC, and Silverbird Cinemas, various offices and shops scheduled to be completed in November 2011.
The structure, is being constructed by an Italian company, CAPPA and DALBERTO Plc on about three acres of land opposite Elephant House.
LASAMBUS to the rescue
According LASAMBUS General Manager, Mr. Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, five people were rescued from the debris.
He said: “My own job is to respond to this kind of calamity quickly to ensure that we rescue our people. We have the state Fire Service, the State Ambulance Services and the Civil Defence Corps on ground for the rescue operation.”
According to him, the construction company has made the roll call of the workers at the site and observed that no one is trapped except the five people that have been rescued.
He said: “The state Ministry of Physical Planning will have to visit the site to investigate the cause of the collapse while the debris is being evacuated. For now, we have sealed off part of the area where the crack occurred.”
Project Manager for CAPPA and DALBERTO, who simply identified himself as Christian, said that the company would investigate to know the cause of the collapse.
He said: “Please understand us. We cannot tell you what has caused the collapse. We will look into it and see.”
Meanwhile, one of the construction workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the pressure on the construction company to deliver the project as scheduled had compelled the company to be working both day and night, adding that the iron rod networking of the part that collapsed was not properly done.
He said: “Some of us that did not sustain injury in the collapse will go and do thanksgiving in the church. We saw it coming. The rush to complete this project is too much.
“We had just cast the decking of the first floor in that part of the complex. The workers that poured the concrete were still very much around the ground floor when the cantilevers gave way and the whole decking fell in.”
Francis Obinna, Head of Disaster Management unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, who led a team of rescuers to the site, told newsmen that he mobilised to the scene when they heard a heavy sound from the site.
“Five persons are injured and have been rushed to the hospital. They were workers casting the decking when the building collapsed. Emergency response teams were here and attended to the situation promptly.