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Nine detained in connection with collapse of Chinese residential building

May 1 (UPI) -- Nine people have been detained in connection with the collapse of a Chinese residential building over the weekend, authorities said Sunday.

The owner of the six-story building in Changsha, the capital of the Hunan province, was detained along with three people in charge of reconstruction work on the building were arrested in the wake of Friday's collapse, police said according to the South China Morning Post.

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Five more local engineering test firm employees were also taken into custody on suspicion of providing false documents.

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered search and rescue efforts "at all costs" following the collapse and called for a thorough investigation of the cause of the incident, state-run news agency CCTV reported.

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A death toll was not immediately available as of Sunday but Chinese media reported that seven people had been rescued, while the mayor of Changsha said another 16 remained trapped under rubble.

Authorities were also unable to contact an additional 39 people after the collapse.

Wen Xianghui, political commissar of the Changsha Fire Brigade said adjacent buildings were also "severely damaged and could collapse at any time" making rescue efforts difficult.

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"The space is so narrow that only a few rescuers can be allowed in," Wen said. "We are in a race against time.

Xi called for a nationwide campaign to prevent further risks associated with buildings in the nation after multiple collapses due to poor construction recently.

At least 29 people died and 50 more were injured after the six-story Xinjia Express Hotel, which was being used as a quarantine facility in the southern province of Fujian collapsed in March 2020.

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