1 Dead And 8 Injured In Istanbul Apartment Building Collapse

ISTANBUL (AP) — An apartment building collapsed in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Sunday, killing one person and injuring eight, authorities said. The collapse renewed fears about the resilience of buildings in a city prone to earthquakes.

TV images showed firefighters shifting rubble by hand from the flattened five-story building in Kucukcekmece, on the city’s European side. Seven people were initially pulled from the debris, including two who were seriously injured, Istanbul Governor Davut Gul said while visiting the scene.

His office later said one more injured person was rescued and a body was recovered.

The governorship said the 36-year-old structure collapsed at 8:40 a.m. (0540 GMT). The cause was not immediately clear but there was no sign of an explosion or seismic activity. Only the top two floors were being used as residences, with the rest of the building being occupied by businesses.

Images from a camera across the street showed passengers waiting to board a public minibus at the time of the collapse narrowly escaped being struck by falling debris.

Urbanization Minister Mehmet Ozhaseki posted on social media platform X that the apartments had been built without complying to standards and additional stories had been illegally added later.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, meanwhile, said two people — the building owner and the owner of a restaurant on the ground floor — had been detained.

Speaking to journalists at the site, he identified the fatality as a national of Turkmenistan, as were several others living in the building.

More than 59,000 people were killed last year when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck parts of southern Turkey and neighboring Syria. The disaster highlighted the poor enforcement of building regulations in Turkey.

Istanbul, with an official population of 16 million, lies near the North Anatolian Fault. A 1999 earthquake centered to the south of the city killed at least 18,000 people. The municipality has said there are 200,000 buildings housing 3 million people that are in urgent need of improvement.