Italy quake: Probe opens into building collapses

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Collapsed buildings in central Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
14:27 CEST+02:00
Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into building collapses in the Lazio towns of Accumoli and Amatrice following Wednesday’s earthquake.

The 6.0 magnitude quake devastated the two towns and has left at least 247 people dead across the northern Lazio and Marche region.

Public prosecutors in Rieti, Lazio, will oversee the investigation, which will attempt to determine if any structures collapsed due to violations in building regulations, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

Of particular interest to prosecutors are two cases where recently restored buildings fell down.

A bell tower in Accumoli killed a local family when it fell on their home and the Romolo Capranica school in Amatrice, a building which should have been quake-proof, was also reduced to rubble.

For the moment, no individuals have been placed under investigation, but expert engineers have begun to survey some of the fallen buildings.

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If their collapse is deemed to have been caused by negligence, those responsible face jail.

Earlier this year, four technicians were handed culpable homicide sentences by Italy’s top court, which judged them partially responsible for the deaths of eight students who died when their university residence collapsed during the 2009 L’Aquila quake.

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