2 Dead as Wall of Apartment Collapses in Barnaul (Video)

A man and a woman died in Barnaul after the front wall of a three-story apartment building collapsed, a news report said Friday.

The incident happened on Ulitsa Emilia Alekseyeva at around 2:56 p.m. and the bodies of Valery Zhukov, 60, and Lyudmila Dostovolova, 64, were uncovered 15 minutes later during the rescue operation, the regional emergencies office said.

Pieces of masonry had started to come loose and fall off the day before the fatal collapse, but despite the warning signs some residents refused to leave the building at the authorities' request, Interfax reported.

The video footage shows the rescue team looking for survivors in the debris.

The building will now be completely demolished and the 21 surviving residents have been resettled in temporary housing.

Alexander Karlin, the republic of Altai's governor, said 50,000 rubles ($1,500) will be given to each family member and 500 thousand rubles to the families of the deceased.

Officials have opened a criminal investigation on charges of causing the death of two or more people, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

"I gave instructions to look thoroughly into the events and determine the degree of responsibility of officials," Karlin said in a statement.

RIA Novosti has reported 26 instances of buildings collapsing so far this year. The wall of another building in Barnaul partially collapsed in March.

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