Chinese couple saves 67 neighbours before building topples

Beijing, Jun 11, 2015 (PTI)

Chinese couple saves 67 neighbours before building topples

A Chinese couple is being hailed for saving 67 neighbours, moments before a seven-storey building collapsed this week in the country's southwest.

The building toppled on Tuesday night in Huichuan District in Guizhou province.
There were no casualties, with all residents escaping safely thanks to the swift actions of the couple who live in their grocery store on the bottom floor of the complex.

The wife, Luo Kaisu, was first awaken by a noise outside the window of their store late on Monday night, she recalls.

"I thought it was a thief who wanted to break into the store," Luo told state-run Xinhua news agency.

She asked her husband to check it out but he found nothing suspicious.
Early in the morning on Tuesday, she was startled by another loud noise.
After inspecting further, she discovered plaster dust flowing from cracks in the apartment's exterior wall.

It was very urgent. The couple raced from door-to-door, waking up nearly all their neighbours before they reached the sixth floor, where their three children live.
The building collapsed 30 minutes after the last person was evacuated.

"It's terrible. We trembled and fell to the ground when the building collapsed in front of us," said Ji Yuankui, Luo's husband.

Their store, with more than 100,000 yuan (about USD 16,130) in inventory, was also buried in the rubble.

According to Liu Jiayu, deputy head of the government of Huichuan District, the collapsed building was built in 1995.

The landlord illegally added four floors on the top of original three floors in 2005.
Preliminary investigations showed continuous rain led to the foundation of the building sinking and construction materials were not up to standard, Liu said.

The landlord is in police custody now. Further investigation is under way.
"Although we are homeless and suffered economic loss, we are lucky enough to be alive thanks to our good neighbours. Life is more valuable than anything else," said Yang Bing, Luo's neighbour. Tale of the couple's heroics spread quickly online.

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