Investigation into the collapse of Cork building

Friday 31 December 1999 14.12

An investigation has begun in Cork into the cause of the partial collapse of a building in the city centre, yesterday evening. A young woman died and eight other people were injured in the incident, which happened in Washington Street shortly before five o'clock. The woman who died has been named as 21-year-old Aoife Bell from Kerry Pike, Cork.

It is still not known what caused part of a building on the busy street to collapse. A full forensic examination of the scene was carried out last night. Engineers from Cork Corporation and the County Manager, Maurice Moloney, also visited the scene. A full investigation involving the Garda, the Health and Safety Authority and the local authority has now been launched into the cause of the fatal accident.

Emergency services worked until the early hours of this morning to secure the area. Two other adjacent buildings suffered from structural damage. Last night, a demolition crew removed the top part of one of the buildings as a precautionary measure. Bord Gáis last night confirmed that falling masonry damaged an underground gas main. Gas leaked into a Chinese restaurant across the street causing a minor explosion and a fire. An employee, who was still in the building, was rushed to hospital suffering from facial burns.

Nine people in total were injured the accident, including Aoife Bell, who died in hospital from her injuries. The dead woman's sister was also one of the injured. Four people are still being treated at Cork University hospital, one of them remains in a critical condition. Washington Street remains cordoned off and will remain closed to traffic until later today.