Two men walk out of an office building, carrying their computers with them, in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, July 5, 2011. South Korea ordered hundreds of people Tuesday to stay out of the high-rise shopping mall in Seoul that shook briefly for unknown reasons, an official said. / AP-Yonhap
By Lee Hyo-sik
Hundreds of merchants and shoppers evacuated Techno-Mart, a 39-story building in northeastern Seoul, Tuesday, after it shuddered for 10 minutes.
Building managers and rescue officials were unable to immediately identify what caused the shopping complex featuring electronics outlets and discount stores, to shake.
The Gwangjin Fire Station said it received a call that an office building of Techno-Mart, called the “Prime Center,” shook for 10 minutes at around 10:10 a.m.
According to officials from the Korea Meteorological Administration, the jolt at the building was not an earthquake as it detected no seismic activity in the area.
About 500 merchants and customers exited the building. Roughly 3,000 people were inside the building at the time.
The fire station dispatched 23 rescue workers and seven fire trucks to help people exit the building and prevent others from entering. There has been no report of human casualties and property damage, it said.
One merchant working on the 20th floor of the Prime Center told rescuers that she felt dizzy, adding she left the building with the other staff as soon as the shaking stopped.
Following the incident, officials from the Gwangjin District Office and the fire station held a meeting with Prime Development, the management firm of Techno-Mart.
The district office and the fire station said mandatory evacuation should be issued to conduct an extensive safety inspection.
But Prime Development argued the skyscraper has never failed previous safety checks, saying that nothing abnormal was reported, Tuesday, besides the minor shaking.
But they reached an agreement to evacuate all non-essential personnel from the building, the district office said.
“The Prime Center passed a safety inspection in March. But we’ve decided to issue the evacuation order to carry out a thorough safety check for the next three days. During the period, nobody can enter the building,” a district office official said.
According to Prime Development employees, it is normal for the building to shake to some extent as a multi-cinema complex screens 3D movies all day long.
Also, a sports center located on the 12th floor has been causing a significant level of vibration throughout the structure as loud music is played there.
5일 오전 10시10분께 서울 광진구 구의동 테크노마트의 사무동 건물인 `프라임센터'가 흔들려 시민 300~500명이 대피했다.
소방당국에 따르면 이날 오전 10시10분부터 약 10분간 테크노마트 39층짜리 사무동 건물의 중ㆍ고층부가 상하로 흔들려 이 건물의 상주인원 3천명 중 300~500명이 스스로 대피했다.
이 건물 20층에서 일하는 임준희(36)씨는 "어지러울 정도로 건물이 위아래로 흔들리길래 `혹시나'하는 불안감에 다른 직원들과 함께 건물 밖으로 대피했다가 다시 들어왔다"고 말했다.
광진구는 이 건물에 대해 3일간의 입주자 퇴거명령 조치를 취할 예정이다.
광진구 관계자는 "당장 이 건물에 대해 퇴거명령을 내리고 정밀 안전진단을 할 것"이라며 "만일 이 같은 조치가 이행되지 않으면 강제로 퇴거시키겠다"고 말했다.
하지만 프라임센터측은 건물에 이상이 없다며 퇴거명령에 따를 이유가 없다는 입장이어서 마찰이 일어날 가능성도 있어 보인다. (연합)