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Latvia roof collapse: Four dead, 'many trapped' in Riga

  • 11-21-2013

Some 50 people are feared trapped after a supermarket roof collapsed in the Latvian capital Riga.

Four people were killed in the collapse - including a firefighter, say officials. About 30 people were hurt.

There are conflicting reports of what might have caused the collapse, with reports of an explosion and other suggestions that a garden was being constructed on the roof.

The 500 sq m (5,000 sq ft) store run by the Maxima chain opened in 2011.

The accident is believed to have happened at about 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT), when the shop was busy with people shopping on their way home from work.

Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman Viktorija Sembele said one firefighter was among those killed.

Seven were injured after another portion of roof fell on rescue workers as they searched for survivors, reported the Associated Press news agency.

Dozens of emergency workers are at the scene trying to reach any survivors through the rubble.

"Rescue efforts will continue through the night but it's too early to name a cause or say whether there will be more victims or survivors," Ms Sembele told AFP news agency.

Riga's deputy mayor Andris Ameriks was quoted as saying the collapse might have been caused by an explosion.

But local media say a "winter garden" was being planted on the roof using sand which had become sodden with rain.

Mayor Nils Usakovs announced he was cancelling his leave and calling an emergency meeting of municipal and rescue services for Friday, AFP reported.

"As soon as rescue work has finished, construction experts will investigate the causes," said a news release from his office.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2013 BBC

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