House collapsing in Vienna shopping street

According to a police report on Saturday afternoon, a building at 178 Mariahilferstrasse has been evacuated due to risk of an imminent collapse.

House collapsing in Vienna shopping street
Photo: APA

Police said that "A staircase in the courtyard has already collapsed."

Police, firemen and ambulance personnel are on location, although there have been no reports of injury.

The area around the building has been cordoned off, as parts of the facade of the building have fallen into the street.

The building, which is in the middle of renovations, houses an Internet cafe in the ground floor.

Shortly after the evacuation of five residents, there was a partial collapse of one of three staircases and part of an outer wall in the courtyard.

The incident began around 3pm when residents called the fire department after noticing cracks.  Around 80 personnel were involved in the emergency response.

During the incident, a young couple reported to emergency services that they had left their two cats, "Merlin" and "Mim" on the third floor.  Firefighters used an extension ladder to rescue the two eight-month-old felines, who were reunited with their owners.

The house is close to one where a 19-year-old man committed suicide and destroyed the rooftop in April using a gas explosion, but fire fighters said the two incidents were not linked.

After inspection, the restriction on the vicinity was eased around 17:45, but since water, electricity and gas were cut off, the decision was taken to keep the residents out of their homes until safety work is complete.

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