At Least 5 Dead in Building Collapse

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NEW DELHI (CNN) — At least five people have been killed after a five-story residential building collapsed in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai early Friday, authorities said.

Dozens of people are feared to be trapped in the wreckage of the city’s latest building disaster.

“It’s a pancake collapse,” said Sachidanand Gawde, deputy commandant at the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). “The exact number of those trapped under the debris is not known,” he said.

Around 40 people are feared to be buried in the rubble, CNN’s sister network IBN reported, citing the disaster officials.

Dr. Tatyarao Lahane Dean of JJ hospital confirmed the five deaths. Others were being treated for their injuries at the hospital, Gawde said.

The building, an old construction in southern Mumbai, gave way around 6 a.m. Friday. Fire engines and and ambulances rushed to the scene to carry out rescue efforts, he said.

The first floor of the building was rented out to a decorating firm, but about 22 apartments were occupied on the upper four floors, said Sitaram Kunte, the commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Council, which owns the building.

Several buildings in the Mumbai area have crumbled this year, one of them with disastrous consequences.

In April, scores of people were killed in the collapse of an illegal multistory building in Thane, a city in the Mumbai region.

Deadly collapses have occurred in the city in past years, as well.

Housing rights groups say many old buildings in the city are rundown and neglected, while newer ones are often built using substandard materials and have structural problems.

People live in them because they don’t have a choice — in Mumbai, demand for housing far exceeds supply. About 65% of the population is estimated to live in slums, the groups say.

–By Neha Sharma, CNN

–CNN’s Lonzo Cook in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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