By Festus Ahon
APPREHENSION, Saturday enveloped Asaba, the Delta State capital, following the collapse of a storey building which left a middle-aged man dead and four others with severe injuries, including the owner of the building.
The building, which is located at Holy Mary Road behind the Nigeria Police Officers Mess, Bonsac in the Asaba metropolis, was being converted from a car park to one-storey when it collapsed.
Vanguard gathered that construction work began at the site about two weeks ago and was already being roofed when it collapsed, adding that the work was being supervised by the owner, 76 years retired Group Captain Sam Akaraiwe.
The structure was being built in a compacted space in the compound with two structures, an uncompleted decking and a bungalow where the owner resides.
The Vanguard gathered neighbours made frantic efforts to rescue those trapped in the rubbles with their bare hands and shovels before the arrival of two excavators.
The owner of the building who sustained severe head injuries was traced with the ring tone of his cellphone under a pile of rubbles and was rescued along with three other workers.
The fifth person whose identity was unknown as at press time died on the spot and had been deposited in a mortuary while the other four persons who are in critical condition are taking treatment at the hospital.
A survivor and carpenter working on the roof, Mr Ike Ifenacho said he was on top of the building doing woodwork when he noticed that the building was caving in, adding that he had to jump off but sustained minor injuries on his jaw and leg.
Chairman of Oshimili South Local Government Council, Mr Uche Osadebe who was at the scene, said he made calls to relevant authorities and mobilised after he was called by the Councillor representing the area.
Blaming the collapsed structure on substandard materials and self-supervision by the owner, he said the building does not have approval from relevant government ministries and agencies.
An official of Red Cross and Leader Disaster Management Team, Oshimili South, Mr Sunday Moses and Delta State Emergency Management Agency SEMA, Mr Daniel Okpor, said four persons were rescued alive with injuries while one was brought out dead from the rubbles with the help of the excavator.
A neighbour who witnessed the incident, Mr Friday James said he heard a big bang which made him ran out of his house only to discover that a building had collapsed and quickly mobilised others with a shovel and started digging to rescue those trapped.
He confirmed that four persons, including the owner of the building, were rescued from under the rubble while one was brought out dead.