Child, man die in Brazil building collapse

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A four-storey building has collapsed in western Rio de Janeiro before dawn, killing at least one infant and one adult and damaging nearby residences, the Brazilian city's fire department says.

Four people were rescued from the debris.

The irregular construction consisted of four small homes built atop one another, a spokesperson for the fire department said.

The EFE news agency reported a young girl and her father were killed in the collapse.

City officials confirmed to the Associated Press in an email that the structure had no licence.

The accident that occurred about 3am on Thursday in Rio das Pedras, a working-class neighbourhood, underscored the difficulties authorities run into trying to tamp down on illegal constructions in areas run by paramilitary gangs.

Paramilitary groups, commonly referred to as "militias" in Brazil, made up of former firefighters, police and soldiers, often take control of public land and build illegal housing to rent informally.

Many people choose to live in such residences because they are cheaper.

"With me, militias are not going to build any more crap in this city," Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said on Thursday.

According to Rio's Department of Conservation, since January more than 180 irregular buildings have been demolished in the West Zone alone and more than 150 notifications were also issued.

A notification is the first step toward demolition, the department said.

City officials said they had blocked access to seven buildings close to the fallen structure and all 20 of its residents were relocated.

with EFE

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