Paulista, Brazil, Jul 7 (EFE).- At least two people died and 15 others are trapped under the rubble or missing after a residential building collapsed in this northeastern Brazilian city, firefighters said Friday.
The fire department serving Paulista, a city in Pernambuco state that is part of the Recife Metropolitan Area, said a 45-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy were found dead amid the wreckage.
The rescue work is ongoing with the assistance of trained dogs, as well as heavy machinery to remove the rubble.
Earlier, two women had been rescued alive and hospitalized with fractures.
Four other people who were not among the 19 occupants of the building and were living in an adjacent property suffered minor injuries.
The collapse occurred amid heavy rains over the past two weeks that had led to a state of alert being issued for the Recife metro region.
On Friday, those storms and downpours triggered landslides and flooding, felled trees and posts and caused several traffic accidents.
The building, part of the Beira-Mar low-income housing complex, had been closed by a 2010 court order that had warned the structure was unsafe.
But two years later, its owners began using the building as housing once again without authorization.
Firefighters in 2018 had recommended that the building be vacated after conducting an inspection.
On Thursday, a day before the tragedy, an insurer connected with the state bank that financed the apartments also warned that it was unsafe for human habitation.
In April, six people died when another residential building collapsed in the nearby city of Olinda, also part of the Recife metro area.
In that incident, a three-story structure for which an eviction order also had been issued collapsed in the low-income Jardim Atlantico neighborhood. EFE