Two buildings collapsed in downtown Rio de Janeiro, an unknown number of people buried in the rubble, city mayor Eduardo Paes said. Earlier, television network Globo News, citing civil defense officials, reported there were “11 casualties — dead and injured” in the incident, which took place near the municipal theater on the city’s historic Cinelandia square. “Four people have been hospitalized,” Paes told reporters on the scene. “There are still people in the rubble, but we don’t know how many. We have received conflicting information,” Paes said. The mayor said two buildings, one with 10 floors and the other with 20 floors, had collapsed. Earlier, witnesses said there had been a violent explosion in the area, but Paes said the cause of the collapses was not yet known, citing possible “structural problems.” The historic district is bustling by day, but nearly deserted at night. A mountain of rubble filled the street near the 20-storey building, while thick dust covered the cars nearby. That building houses several law offices. Construction work was being done on two separate floors. Dozens of firefighters and emergency personnel were at the scene. A bank branch and a restaurant are located on the first floor of one of the collapsed buildings, but it was not immediately clear if the two businesses were open at the time of the incident.
Posted from Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.