Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Croatian street collapses

A small street in a residential district of the Croatian capital collapsed into an underground building site, turning dozens of shocked citizens into homeless refugees, Zagreb police said on Monday.

The cave-in happened after construction workers digging a 27-metre deep hole beneath the street to lay foundations for an office block disturbed a strong underground stream, the Jutarnji List daily reported.

Some houses collapsed into the crater, others were left teetering on the edge. Residents of some 20 houses and flats were evacuated to a hotel on Sunday, and police emptied part of a nearby office block and a bank on Monday, Hina said.

"Part of Kupska Street collapsed because of construction works on Sunday. . . During our on-site investigation, a concrete wall supporting the underground site structure crumbled and the pavement fell through," said a police statement quoted by the state news agency Hina. No one was injured.

"Ten days ago I noticed cracks in the walls," evacuated pensioner Jovan Drezgan told Jutarnji List. "Since then I've been going to bed every night thinking the house will cave in."

"This is becoming something of an attraction, with people coming to take a peek at the crater," said one of two policewomen guarding a makeshift checkpoint at the site.

"If this keeps up, we might start charging a fee."

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