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'Big Noise,' Then Brand New Mexico Mall Collapses

Mexico City mayor calls it a 'case of negligence'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 13, 2018 3:23 AM CDT
The Artz Pedregal shopping mall stands partially collapsed on the south side of Mexico City, Thursday, July 12, 2018.   (AP Photo/Anthony Vazquez)
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(Newser) – A newly opened shopping mall on Mexico City's south side partly collapsed Thursday after structural problems led the mall's operators to quickly evacuate the area. No injuries were reported. Officials said a support beam failed in a cantilevered office area on the top floors that stuck out from the main mall building, the AP reports. Restaurant worker Juan Ramon Hernandez says people in the mall were evacuated only about five minutes before the offices sheared off. "We heard a big noise and they began to evacuate us from the plaza," says Hernandez. "About five minutes later was when the collapse happened."

Videos posted on social media showed the multi-story section collapse in a cloud of dust and twisted metal. Some of it fell into lanes of a major freeway, which had been closed shortly before the collapse. The Artz Pedregal mall opened in March, though parts remain under construction. Built on the edge of the city's main expressway, the mall had suffered previous subsoil slides. Mexico City Mayor Jose Ramon Amieva says experts are investigating whether the collapse of the cantilevered area was due to structural defects or soil settling. Calling it a "case of negligence," the mayor said the mall's construction permits and other authorizations should be reviewed as investigators try to find out what happened.

(Read more Mexico City stories.)

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