An apartment building in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon collapsed on Sunday, a day after its residents were evacuated over fears of imminent collapse.
The building gave way on its own, reflecting how close the situation had been to becoming a mass-casualty disaster resembling the collapse in June of a high-rise residential building in Florida, which killed 98 people.
First responders had been called to the building on Saturday after residents of the building reported hearing the sound of a blast. Images showed cracks on the walls of the building and police said residents were unable to open the front doors of their apartments.
The decision to evacuate the building was made in coordination with professional engineers, police said, with officers closing off the street outside the building and police urging people to stay away.
The building on Serlin Street in Holon collapsed on Sunday afternoon, some thirty hours after it was evacuated of its 36 families.
There were no reports of injuries as a result of the collapse, although many families have lost all their belongings.
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“Professional sources estimate that the quick evacuation of the building carried out yesterday saved 36 families from a terrible disaster,” a spokesperson for the Israel Fire and Rescue Services said Sunday.
Many praised the speedy evacuation effort and dubbed it a “miracle.”
“Fire and Rescue Services, you are amazing. We really appreciate it,” a resident of the building told the Kan public broadcaster.
“They knocked on the door really hard and took us out of the building. People were in pajamas, with babies, elderly people,” another resident said.
חולון,קריסת הבניין מזווית נוספת???? pic.twitter.com/zFOXx4DzRD
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But some criticized the Holon Municipality for its alleged lack of support during the evacuation.
“People came from the municipality, they gave us water and sandwiches, which is the bare minimum. We expected more assistance — for someone to take us, or update us on what is going on,” a resident told Kan.
חולון הבוקר: בבניין ישן ברחוב סרלין התגלה סדק עמוק, התושבים פונו מהבניין. חברת החשמל ניתקה אותו. 16 משפחות נמצאות בהלם טוטאלי. אין ספק שנמנע אסון כבד מאוד. pic.twitter.com/thCQSTJGVA
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“There are cancer patients and infants and they sent us all to sleep at the community center. This is chaos. We don’t know what to do,” the resident added.
Municipal engineers inspected the adjacent buildings following the collapse and determined they were not in danger, but their evacuated residents were still not allowed to immediately return on Sunday.