Wall that crushed pair known to be a risk, inquiry told

5:36 pm on 15 December 2011

An inquiry into the Canterbury Earthquakes has been told a wall that collapsed and killed two people was already known to be at risk of falling down.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission is conducting a series of hearings into the strong and devastating quakes in the region that began on 4 September last year with a 7.1-magnitude quake.

On 22 February this year, a 6.3-magnitude quake occurred, killing 182 people, mainly in Christchurch.

On Thursday, the commission looked into the deaths of the co-owner of Wicks Fish Shop and a customer after a wall from an adjacent Pizzeria crashed through the roof and crushed them.

Inspectors from the Earthquake Commission (EQC) visited the Pizzeria over two days at the start of February, less than three weeks before the devastating quake.

Building owner Pak Loke says he was given no indication there were serious problems with his building immediately following this inspection and only discovered there were problems about two weeks later.

Peter Smith, a structural engineer hired by the Royal Commission to review the case, says it is unacceptable that the EQC did not share its findings with the Christchurch City Council.

Mr Smith says the council also failed in its responsibilities by not issuing the Pizzeria with a sticker indicating whether or not it was safe to occupy.