Apartment Building Collapses in Italy; Some May Be Trapped

Rescuers work amid the rubble of a building that collapsed, left, in Torre Annunziata, near Naples, southern Italy, Friday, July 7, 2017. A five-story apartment block collapsed early Friday near the southern Italian city of Naples, and authorities were digging by hand to find anyone who may have been trapped. (Ciro Fusco/ANSA via AP)

By COLLEEN BARRY

MILAN (AP) — A five-story apartment building partially collapsed early Friday along a railway line near the southern Italian city of Naples, and authorities were digging by hand to find anyone trapped.

Firefighters said in a tweet that up to eight people may be buried in the rubble in the seaside town of Torre Annunziata, some four kilometers (three miles) from the Pompeii archaeological site.

Mayor Vincenzo Ascione was quoted by the news agency ANSA as saying that two families were missing, including two children.

Witnesses said there was no explosion before the collapse sometime after 6 a.m., but that a train had just passed by on adjacent train tracks, according to ANSA.

Images show the structure partially collapsed, revealing the interior of some apartments. Some 30 rescue workers were removing rubble by hand, passing it out in buckets, as firefighters on long, retractable ladders checked the stability of the section that remained intact.

At one point, the digging was paused while a sniffer dog checked the scene.

News reports indicated that reconstruction work was being carried out on the building before the collapse. The mayor said it wasn’t immediately clear if there was a connection between the work and the collapse.

The train line that passes Mount Vesuvius and connects Naples with such tourist sites as Pompeii and the Amalfi coast has been closed.

The Italian railway said in a statement that the vibrations from passing trains have no impact on the stability of adjacent buildings.

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