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January 25 promised to be more than a regular night in Brazil. The downtown of Rio de Janeiro was beyond recognition in the middle of debris and dust. A scenery that could easily be compared to the four attacks to the capital of the world in September 11, but at this time, not by design.
Around 8:30 p.m. three buildings, one with 20 floors, another with 10, and a smaller building with four floors, disassembled like a dominoes game in downtown of Rio. The tragedy that still cannot be explained has left a mark of devastation on the image of Brazil.
The fireman team who worked in Haiti after the earthquake is still assisting the search, along with sniffer dogs, to locate and dig up victims. Fourteen ambulances also helped the injured. The results of the brick and concrete avalanche have so far been 17 deaths -13 of them identifiable – and five still missing, according to the G1 website.
For the Regional Council of Engineering and Agronomy from Rio, (CREA), one of the buildings that fell apart, the highest one called Edifício Liberdade, was under illegal construction in the 3rd and 9th floors. Investigations are being held to verify whether or not the constructions caused the buildings to come down.
Another possible reason for the demolition has been prescribed to the constant impact of rain on the soil areas. The three edifices that were constructed in the late 30’s might have changed the bottom soil structure because of the drained water. A gas explosion, which was the first considered cause cause of the accident by the specialists, is not a hypothesis any more.
According to Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio, in Folha.com, the evidences of the crash do not point to any kind of explosion. Paes mentioned that the main cause of the accident might have been from a problem in the structure of the 20- floor-building leading to the other two downfalls.
The specialist on risk assessment, Moacyr Duarte, says “the destruction was a progressive collapse that started to fell apart like a castle of cards until only the mountain of debris remained”
The traffic in the damaged avenues have slowly started to move again. The Seven of March Ave, (Avenida Sete de Março) in which the tragedy occurred, was released for pedestrians this Monday January 30. A demarked space was created for people who wanted to offer their last tribute to the victims.
According to the website Estadão.com.br some of the innocents might never be found. Families who have lost relatives in the tragedy, on the other hand, might receive compensation for moral damages of around $ 115 thousand. For Ronaldo Cramer, Brazilian Bar general attorney, these law procedures can take up to five years. In addition, families can receive individual compensations depending on a court decision, but the police needs to be able to point to possible responsible.