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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Building addition collapses atop Somali mall in south Minneapolis



Monday, May 6, 2014
by: TIM HARLOW , and PAUL WALSH Star

Authorities examined the scene of the partial building collapse at Karmel Square in Minneapolis. 
Photo: Bruce Bisping

At least part of a retail building in south Minneapolis where a third-floor addition was being built collapsed Tuesday morning, according to police.

Part of Karmel Square, a mall that houses about 150 Somali businesses at 2910 Pillsbury Avenue, gave way around 8:45 a.m. There were no immediate reports of injuries, said police spokesman Scott Seroka.

About 25 people were removed from the building, where many of the businesses were about to open, said Police Inspector Todd Loining, adding that no construction workers were there at the time.

The shops will remain closed until city officials can declare the area safe.

The collapse involved a wall for what is to be a third floor for the mall, which will include a prayer room, said building owner Basim Sabri.

Sabri said construction workers were putting trusses in place late Monday to support a wall, and “the trusses were not properly secured.”

Sabri said, “Thankfully, nobody was injured.”

The collapse initiated a “kind of a domino effect that knocked over everything,” Loining said.

The mishap briefly knocked out electricity in the area, including at Loining’s Fifth Precinct station.

In recent years, Sabri has started construction without permits, taken the city to court and had enough tangles with inspectors that properties he controls make up half the city’s watch list of chronic code violators.

Loining said it does appear that Sabri had the proper permits for the work on the mall.

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