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August 5, 2009

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17 die as building falls

AT least 17 people were killed when a two-story factory building under construction in north China collapsed during a fierce storm yesterday morning.

The building, which belonged to a metallurgical plant in Shijiazhuang City, capital of Hebei Province, toppled when torrential rain washed over the city.

A witness said the building was hit by lightning about 9:15am. Dozens of workers and passersby who had taken shelter were buried.

Rescuers pulled 20 people out of the rubble, but only three survived. They were receiving emergency treatment last night.

The executive of the plant, which produces malleable iron pieces, has been placed under control by authorities.

A group of unidentified people confronted reporters and tried to stop them from conducting interviews, even beating some journalists, witnesses said.

More than 200 fire fighters and armed police troops joined the rescue effort.

The Shijiazhuang government ordered a thorough check on old residences and flood-prone structures throughout the city.


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