On Thursday, the roof of a large grocery store in Riga, Latvia collapsed while the store was filled with after-work shoppers. As many as 54 people were killed including three firemen who had been searching for victims when another portion of the damaged building came down. Scores more victims remain hospitalized. The exact number of people still unaccounted for in the rubble differs from report to report. There is urgency to reach them as some could potentially still be alive.
The cause of the disaster is under investigation. At the time of the collapse, a playground and garden were being constructed on the roof of the store, a project for the residents of an adjacent residential building.
Latvian President Andris Berzins has called the disastor flat out murder.
This is a case where we need to say clearly it is the murder of an enormous number of defenseless people, and that's how we should proceedThis evening, while rescue workers were carefully searching through the debris of the highly unstable building, a huge section of roof gave way and was caught on video.
Initial fears that the dramatic collapse caused additional casualties among the rescue workers thankfully didn't come to pass. However the video gives you a very stark understanding of how devastating the initial tragedy must have been.
Latvia has declared three days of mourning for the victims.
It will probably take years for the people responsible to be brought to justice.