Updated 2.25pm, adds Transport Malta statement
A resident who lived in the collapsed Gwardamanġa building tried to stop the adjacent construction works on Wednesday afternoon after noticing the damage being caused.
Speaking to the Times of Malta, Rosanne Lanzon said her brother noticed the damage at around 3pm, several hours before the collapse.
The building crashed down on Wednesday night, luckily leaving no victims among the debris.
Ms Lanzon said her brother woke up to go to the bathroom yesterday evening, to be greeted “with a scene out of a film”.
The family managed to flee the building with their blind dog in their arms, moments before the collapse.
“Five minutes later and I would have found by brother dead”, she said.
Other residents told the Times of Malta that they had filed complaints about the ongoing works adjacent to them, including to the police.
Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia later defended the police during a visit to the site.
Minister defends police
He said he had not gone there to investigate as that was the job of the inquiring magistrate. The minister said he had some basic information about the site and had come to speak to the contractors and residents.
The Home Affairs Minister said responsibility for the safety of the workers at the construction sites fell into the lap of the Occupational Health and Safety Authority.
“The police are no architects, they aren’t engineers, so they refer the case to the architects and the engineers to draw up the necessary reports, and they have to rely on those reports”, Dr Farrugia said when asked what normally happened when a police report was filed about constructions works.
Malta Developers’ Association President Sandro Chetcuti insisted that the developer had followed all procedures and had filed all the documentation required.
The incident has sparked concerns among many who believe the large number of construction projects - especially the ones including excavation - were being carried out at the expense of health and safety regulations.
Driving licence theory testing centre part of fallen block
Transport Malta said it was temporarily suspending driving licence theory tests since the theory testing centre was part of the fallen block.
It said it was establishing an alternative site for the tests and clients would be informed of a new date and place. The service, it said, would resume May 2.
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