The rain that hit the city on Friday brought down four rickety buildings partially in the walled city area here, killing an infant and three women.
The collapse at Hakima Gate, around 6pm, killed two women (aged 60 and 30) and an infant who were on the third floor. At Batala Road, a woman named Meena was killed in a similar incident. Buildings came down at Chaurasti Attari and Katra Bhai Sant Singh as well, prompting the municipal corporation into the long-delayed action of demolishing unsafe edifices in this old citadel area.
Rain aggravated the buildings' condition, triggering the collapse. The victims belonged to the labour class and lived on rent. They had requested the owners for repair many times. Municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda inspected the scene and ordered the demolition of all unsafe edifices in the walled city.
The MC investigation is on. "We have sent the victims' bodies for autopsy. All other unsafe buildings in the vicinity will be demolished today itself," said Kharbanda. The MC will assemble the people at a common place first so that no one is hurt. The demolition teams will work on Saturday as well.
Earlier in the day, a building each at Chaurasti Attari and Katra Bhai Sant Singh collapsed partially during heavy rain. The fire brigade extracted a woman aged around 40 from the debris at Katra Bhai Sant Singh and moved her to hospital. A part of the Rego Bridge also developed cracks.
"The buildings collapsed because of rain," fire officer Sadiq Masih confirmed. "The debris of the building at Chaurasti Attari fell in the adjoining narrow lane. However, no one was killed. Many unsafe edifices remain in the narrow lanes of the old walled city, many serving as houses."
The MC's list of 140 hazardous structures has expanded to 159, of which the tourism department has identified seven edifices to be of heritage value. On Friday, four unsafe buildings were demolished in the Patel Chowk area.