Quake survivor ends testimony

A worker who survived the Athens 1999 earthquake after spending 46 hours trapped in the ruins of a collapsed factory charged yesterday that her employers had known the building was in a bad state following a destructive fire six years earlier. Ending her testimony at the trial of three civil engineers and an architect involved in the construction of the Ricomex household goods factory, Evi Sofilou, 36, said the building had collapsed immediately. Thirty-nine people died in the building, while the earthquake’s total death toll was 143. The trial opened on March 24. «The owners knew of the danger from the very start,» Sofilou said. «The 1993 fire had caused the most extensive damage.» Prosecutors have charged that the suspects – who initially included two now-deceased factory board members – knew the fire had caused structural damage but failed to repair the weakened building. All four defendants have been charged with «murder with possible malice aforethought.»

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