Authorities in Turkey say they arrested a shop owner and two employees Wednesday, one day after the collapse of a commercial building that trapped several people. The private DHA news agency reported that those arrested are suspected of having conducted unauthorized renovations. An investigation is continuing by local authorities in the city of Malatya in central Turkey.
At the time of the collapse on Tuesday, about 20 people were inside the two-story building, which housed a coffee shop and other retail businesses, according to the Associated Press.
Turkish emergency agencies said they sent 260 personnel to the site to search for people trapped under the rubble and rescue them. Local authorities said workers helped 13 people escape. They were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Others reportedly were able to find their way out on their own.
The state-run Anadolu News Agency reported Wednesday that the suspects were hospitalized for injuries sustained in the collapse. Two of them received medical treatment in intensive care but were not in critical condition, the news service reported.
DHA News reported that authorities accused the suspects of illegal changes to the building that might have resulted in its structural failure.
A survivor told Anadolu that a wall fell on him but he was able to escape with two friends.
According to Sky News, the building was on a busy street in Malatya, a city of 450,000 about 500 kilometers east of Ankara. The incident reportedly occurred shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday, while people were shopping on their way home from work.
Emergency service agencies concluded their operations late Tuesday after determining that no one remained under the building debris, Anadolu reported.
Workers have begun using excavators to clear the site.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Sky News