Kochi

Residents near razed apartments heave a sigh of relief

The Maradu skyline has changed with the demolition of the three towers of two living apartment complexes on Saturday.

The Maradu skyline has changed with the demolition of the three towers of two living apartment complexes on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

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Implosion of the twin apartment complexes causes no visible damage to nearby structures; onlookers cheer at the ‘demolition spectacle’

At 1.02 p.m. on Saturday, as soon as the final siren rang out, marking the end of restrictions clamped over the 200-metre exclusion zone around the two Maradu apartment complexes that were demolished on Saturday, Hari sprinted back to home, which was the closest to Alfa Serene, one of the two demolished structures.

His anxiety was understandable considering that cracks had appeared near the landing of the staircase leading to the first floor of his house, while a window pane had been broken during the pre-blast dismantling work.

Walking in and out of the rooms checking for potential damage, he emerged from his home through a thick blanket of dust with a calm countenance. “Except for a few breaches on the tin roof by projectiles flying off the debris, there was no other visible damage,” he said.

His immediate neighbours, Elzy Antony and her husband, also heaved a sigh of relief after rushing back to their home. “We are just happy that it is over without major problems. Hopefully, the authorities will clean up the dust as promised,” said Ms. Antony.

Right next to the houses lying in a heap of rubble was the first tower of the 16-storey Alfa Serene. In the hours before it was brought to smithereens, the building had wooed quite a lot of visitors, who scurried to take pictures and selfies.

Earlier, when the twin towers of the apartment complex came crashing down with a thunderous bang, causing a minor tremor in the areas nearby — in fact, much louder than when H2O Holy Faith was brought down five minutes earlier — onlookers who had occupied spaces atop buildings outside the exclusion zone let out a loud cheer.

Those on the third floor terrace of an under-construction house bordering the exclusion zone later claimed to have felt a vibration, prompting the panicked owner to send them off the terrace.

Sandhya, a nearby resident, was seen running back to her home as a vast cloud of dust began to engulf the area.

“It was the first such sight in our entire lifetime. It is amazing how such a gigantic building came down in the blink of an eye,” said a smiling Susan accompanied by her friend Jayasree.

Stopped in his tracks, Mirza, a 10-year-old who was having an animated conversation with his friend about the blast, said it was just a “super” sight seeing the buildings go down.

Earlier, as the time for the blast approached, there was a maddening rush by onlookers to find vantage points to witness the spectacle. However, early birds had already appropriated all potential viewpoints, leaving late comers dejected. Two youngsters could be seen pleading with those crowded on the third floor of a building who turned them away quite unsympathetically, saying it was already “houseful”.

Amid the melee, Aneesh, who was an electrician at Alfa Serene and rendered jobless for over three months, cut a sobre figure. “I cannot watch the building that fed me for over seven years go down,” he said before walking away.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 9:42:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/residents-near-razed-apartments-heave-a-sigh-of-relief/article30546802.ece

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