Chinese Hotel Used for Coronavirus Quarantine Collapses, Kills at Least 12
By Carl Samson
March 9, 2020
A hotel being used as a quarantine facility for suspected cases of COVID-19 in Fujian, southeastern China collapsed over the weekend, killing at least 12 people.
Located in the city of Quanzhou, the Xinjia Express Hotel fell apart around 7 p.m. on Saturday (local time), initially trapping around 70 people, according to state-media People’s Daily.
As of Monday afternoon, 50 people — including children — have been freed by the rescue team, which included firefighters, rescue dogs and other emergency responders.
“We are using life-detection instruments to monitor signs of life and professional breaking-in tools to make forcible entries,” said Guo Yutuan, squadron leader of the Quanzhou armed police detachment’s mobile unit, according to CNN.
Unfortunately, at least 12 people died in the tragic event — 11 on the scene and one later in the hospital.
Meanwhile, nine reportedly managed to free themselves from the rubble.
The building, which has seven floors, was reportedly reopened as a hotel in 2018 after “extensive construction work.”
Featuring 80 guest rooms from the fourth to the seventh floor, the building was most recently used as an isolation center for people who had been in close contact with COVID-19 patients.
No official reason has been provided for the collapse, but the building’s interior was illegally renovated, according to Caixin Global.
Speaking to the outlet, a structural engineer claimed that the owner had built mezzanines which happened to be too heavy for the structure to bear.
It turns out that the structure was built around a four-story steel frame structure, but the owner added three more for the mezzanines — and they were all made of bricks.
“When it collapsed, I heard big sounds and felt some tremor,” a nearby resident said, according to Xinhua.
The hotel’s owner, Yang Jinqiang, is now in police custody.
Feature Image Screenshots via People’s Daily
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