Rescuers work on the site of a collapsed two-floor restaurant in north China's Shanxi province on Saturday. Photo by Jin Ji/EPA-EFE
Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Lack of enforcement is being blamed for a restaurant collapse in northern China that killed at least 29 people and injured 28 others during an 80th birthday celebration.
Chinese authorities blamed lack of oversight at the building that caved in at 9:40 a.m. Saturday, China Central Television reported Monday.
The building, located in Tianzhuang Village in the city of Linfen was a two-story structure. When the restaurant opened more than 10 years ago, the building consisted of the first story; the second floor was added during an expansion, according to the report.
The second floor was reportedly built without outside supervision. There were no licenses or permits granted during the construction. The only regulation regarding construction in the city covers the right to sunlight; new construction is banned from obstructing illumination for neighboring buildings.
Wang Jun, a lawyer with a firm in the province, said the law does not explicitly prohibit farmers from renovating their buildings. If the "purpose is changed" then it would be necessary to obtain permission, Wang said.
The man celebrating his 80th birthday had briefly stepped outside during the building collapse and did not die, according to news service Sixth Tone. His wife, who remained inside, has died. Three children also died, according to the report.
The building, which was built by locals, included a cheap and lightweight roof made of "prefabricated structural panels," the report says.
Shanxi provincial government said it is putting together an investigation team.
Shoddy "tofu" construction in China has often been blamed for deadly accidents, including that of more than 5,000 schoolchildren during the Sichuan earthquake of 2008. Corruption among officials has previously been cited in building accidents in other areas of China.