The engineer in charge of investigating the deadly 2013 Space building collapse, who this week fled to the USA claiming he had received death threats, said Tuesday that more buildings in Medellin are at risk of collapse due to structural faults.
In an interview with Caracol Radio, Roberto Rochel named Medellin high rise San Miguel del Rosario as being at imminent risk of collapse due to structural failings and poor upkeep. He went as far as to say that San Miguel del Rosario has obvious cracks in the outer walls and structural damage, and warned that many lives were at risk.
Rochel also stated that a number of building projects in Colombia´s second city of Medellin were structurally unsound due to incomplete planning, but claimed that no move had been made by officials to evacuate inhabitants.
Rochel named high rise housing projects San Miguel del Rosario, Cerezos de Calasania and Colores de Calasania as being at risk due to having been constructed based on incomplete structural plans.
Rochel, an engineer and lecturer at EAFIT university in Medellin was in charge of investigating building projects performed by CDO, a Colombian construction company responsible for the collapse of the Space building nearly a year ago which killed 12 people.
He fled Colombia this week after receiving a number of death threats against him and his family in relation to his investigation of CDO.
Rochel pointed the finger of blame not only at the construction companies themselves but also local government planning commissions who had allowed people to move into these buildings when they were unsafe.
The collapse of the Space building in 2013 brought to light the fact that many building projects in Medellin were being pushed through planning commissions and constructed too quickly and with questionable materials, as a means of providing luxury housing for increased demand to live in the fashionable “city of eternal spring”.
Rochel suggested that he had stepped on many toes and created enemies through his investigation into the Space disaster, and CDO building projects, as it had led to a government enquiry which has lasted for nearly a whole year and put a lot of pressure on construction companies and building owners.
Rochel argued that it was incomprehensible that these projects had been allowed to go ahead legally, and that it had tarnished the name of engineering in Colombia and Antioquia in general.
- Hay mas edificios en riesgo en Medellin: ingeniero Rochel Awad (Caracol Radio)