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Supermarket Green Roof Collapses, Killing 33

A green roof atop a Latvia supermarket is under investigation after it collapsed on shoppers on Thursday, killing at least 33 and injuring at least 38.

Prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis said police had launched a criminal investigation into the Maxima store roof’s collapse, ABC news reports, adding that a rooftop garden, currently under construction, is a possible cause.

According to local council official Juris Radzevics project plans followed regulations but the council will examine whether “materials and work were carried out to the proper standards.”

The Lithuanian-owned Maxima chain is Latvia’s no. 2 retailer. The company said it was “overwhelmed and shocked” by the disaster and would provide “all the information at our disposal” to authorities investigating the cause.

In February 2011, a sloping green roof — then-billed as the largest in North America — atop the St. Charles, Ill., headquarters of pond construction company Aquascape partially collapsed. No one was injured in the collapse, which company officials said was likely the result of an ice dam forming and preventing melting snow from draining off the roof. The section, about 50 feet wide, ran the length of the building and extended over a parking lot.

Aquascape vice president Ed Beaulieu told the Chicago Tribune that he didn’t know whether the weight of the roof’s 6 inches of lightweight soil contributed to the collapse.


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