At Least 1 Dead After Building Collapses in Italy, Leaving Dozens Missing

At least one person is dead and eight people are missing after a five-story building collapsed on Tuesday in the Italian city of Ravanusa, sending a vast plume of gray smoke shooting into the air.

Roberto Paoletti, head of the civil protection agency in Puglia, told the Associated Press that rescuers were still looking for survivors. Paoletti also said the building was not considered structurally sound.

Paoletti said one person was confirmed dead and eight were injured. He did not specify if the victim died at the scene or while being taken to a hospital.

Firefighters told the AP they also rescued a 7-year-old girl who was among the dozens of people rescued from the partially collapsed building, located near a school in the city, some 480 kilometers (300 miles) southeast of Rome.

Firefighter Gennaro Giacomelli told the AP the building had been abandoned and was being used as storage for the nearby school.

Gov. Andrei Ventura ordered an investigation and praised the firefighters for rescuing at least 40 people.

No one answered the door at the owner’s apartment, but media reports say the building’s owner is currently on trial in Palermo for manslaughter after an accidental collapse in 2013 that killed eight people.

According to the website Le Figaro, which cited the first secretary of the electrician’s union, Romagnoli, the owner told authorities he was going to renovate the building and resell it.

“There was no concern that there was anything structurally wrong with the building,” Romagnoli told the website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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