TIJUANA (Border Report) — The second of two apartment buildings being monitored by Tijuana authorities collapsed on Sunday morning in the La Sierra neighborhood.
Both structures had been left dangling on a ridge when the rains washed away most of their foundation.
Crews from the city’s civil protection department closed off the area as the buildings’ tumble from their hilltop position was imminent.
The first building fell on April 1.
For safety reasons, Tijuana officials had received preliminary permission from a court to demolish the second building, but the structure fell on its own.
“The owner, contractors and the city are responsible,” said Gerardo Tenorio, president of Tijuana’s College of Civil Engineers. “Soil sampling and foundation work were inadequate making construction not viable.”
Tenorio also stated the city is liable for issuing construction permits on a ridge that was unstable.
According to the city, construction permits were issued in 2005 for one of the buildings. The second structure was permitted just a few years ago.
“The owner will never be exempt of any responsibility since she commissioned and paid for the work,” said Tenorio.
The owner of the buildings is an American citizen identified by Tijuana’s El Sol Newspaper as Bertha Leticia, no last name was published.
The owner’s lawyer, Juan Marco Gutierrez González, told the newspaper his client is just “another victim,” and that the issues began when the hillside was carved out by business owners below who wanted to expand their properties.
Gutierrez González also told El Sol the buildings’ owner had notified the city about storm drains not functioning properly leading to the problems.
The city of Tijuana is conducting its own investigation but has yet to release any findings.