The residents of two buildings on a street in Ramat Gan were evacuated Tuesday after the floor collapsed in a ground-floor apartment, leaving a massive pit in the living room.
The collapse was attributed to nearby construction work on a new building and cellar.
The resident of the apartment Uzi Basson told Ynet: "At 7am, my partner and I went out. When we returned later, I opened the front door and I could not believe my eyes.
"I saw a huge pit had opened in the living room floor. It's lucky we were not home - just the dog and he was unharmed."
Uzi, a taxi driver, takes a girl with special needs to school every morning and when he returned tried in vain to open the door. He eventually forced his way in only to discover the huge pit in the living room.
Sylvia Dahan, Uzi's partner, said in a shaky voice: "We only left the house for an hour from 7 to 8am and this is what happened. To think that the whole living room could vanish like that with all our things. We cannot enter and we have nothing right now. It is the anniversary of my daughter's death and I feel like she was watching over us from above. "
Excavation work is being carried out on the adjacent lot for a new building.
Before excavations began, the construction company reinforced the exterior wall of the building due to its age. A crack recently appeared in the wall, but Basson said he never believed it would cause the whole floor to collapse.
Ramat Gan municipality said that the apartment building's exterior wall was affected during the construction of the new building and cellar, with earth from the adjacent lot being forced underneath it.
The municipality said that the engineers at the construction site recommended evacuating Basson and Dahan's building and another one nearby.
The residents were taken to hotels at the expense of the construction company, and the municipality said that the company’s engineers were planning to repair the damage.
The municipality said that the contractors had been given permission to work around the clock to repair the damage and make the buildings safe again.