Building Collapse in Arbat Neighbood Kills One

A six-story apartment building in the heart of historic central Moscow partially collapsed Wednesday, killing at least one person and injuring several others, emergency response officials said.

Ceilings and walls in the 19th-century building at 45 Starokonyushenny Pereulok, just off the Arbat, collapsed at about 3 p.m., Yevgeny Bobylyov, a spokesman for the city branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry, told reporters at the scene.

Rescue workers and dogs were combing through the rubble to search for possible survivors trapped under the debris. A law enforcement source told Interfax on Wednesday evening that up to six people might still be buried under the wood and concrete.

One person was killed and six were injured, two of whom were hospitalized, Bobylyov said. The Investigative Committee said the victim was a worker who had not yet been identified, Interfax reported.

No one is currently living in the building, though it was undergoing restorations at the time of the accident, said Bobylyov. A group of workers standing around the building Wednesday evening said they knew several people who were inside when the collapse occurred.

Dozens of fire trucks and ambulances were dispatched to the scene, and tow trucks on the Novy Arbat were evacuating illegally parked cars in the evening to make room for more rescue vehicles.

There was no apparent damage to the building's facade, which was encircled by scaffolding and covered by green mesh cloth. Rescue workers were climbing all around the scaffolding, and flashlight beams inside the building could be seen from the street.

The Investigative Committee has opened an inquiry to determine the cause of the accident.

A law enforcement source told Interfax that safety violations were likely to blame.

The Prosecutor General's Office said city prosecutors are looking into whether the company Miks, which was restoring the building, had adhered to safety regulations, Interfax reported.