Seconds to destruction

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 January, 2010, 12:00am

45J Ma Tau Wai Rd

Built: 1955

Saleable area on each floor: 58.3 square metres

Units on each floor: 4

Owner: Halesweet Limited

Anatomy of the collapse

Around 1.35pm: Worker rushes out of ground-floor shop and warns passers-by to move away from building, but is ignored

1.43pm Police receive report saying woman seen shouting warnings out of window on first floor of building

1.46pm Building collapses in less than 20 seconds

1.46pm Fire Services Department arrives on scene

2.47pm Body of 40-year-old woman found; two injured men, 56 and 79 years old, rescued from rubble

3.10pm-3.17pm Two stranded people rescued from building next door

3.20pm Chief Executive Donald Tsang arrives at scene

5.40pm Fire Services Department announces five people are missing: two from the first floor, two from the second and one from the third floor

7.19pm Body of 41-year-old man found

10.40pm Firemen find a third body in the rubble

Five orders have been issued by the Buildings Department since 2005 to remove illegal structures, including:

A structure with canopies on ground and first floors

Metal frames erected on the external wall on ground, first and third floors

A shopfront extension

A repair order was issued earlier this month (Jan) to fix diointegrating walls and ceilings and wall cracks

Left to rot

The building that collapsed yesterday was located in one of the most run-down blocks in one of Hong Kong's most run-down districts

To Kwa Wan played an important role in Hong Kong's manufacturing industry in the middle of the last century. But now its ageing factories are mostly sitting idle and there are few reminders of the area's past prosperity

New developments have started springing up, but the district's numerous tenement buildings - such as the one that collapsed yesterday - are in a state of disrepair