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Four-storey building in Brussels collapses during renovation
A four-storey building has collapsed on Avenue Houba De Strooper in Laeken, according to the Brussels fire brigade.
The building, which was once the site of café-restaurant Le Carlton, was undergoing renovation works.
Two workers who were on site heard creaking and were able to get to safety just before the property “collapsed like a house of cards”, fire brigade spokesperson Walter Derieuw said.
No one else was present when the collapse occurred and an investigation will take place to determine the cause, which Derieuw clarified was not an explosion.
“Further follow-up will be done by the city services, the owner, insurance and a contractor,” said Derieuw.
In the meantime, the perimeter around the collapsed building was closed to traffic and Stib public transport was diverted.
Three surrounding buildings have been declared temporarily uninhabitable while the investigation into their stability continues and local residents have found alternative shelter.
Search dogs, aided by a crane from a private firm, examined the rubble multiple times to confirm that there were no victims.
The collapsed building is owned by AB Inbev, according to the former manager of Le Carlton, who noted that it was never in great condition and said it had warned the proprietor in the past about cracks in the outer walls.
Built in 1911, the building was designed by architect Edmond Abs, according to the inventory of architectural heritage of the Brussels Capital Region.
Being included in the inventory does not mean a building is protected as heritage, but does mean that it is considered important for the architecture and urban planning history of the region.