RIO DE JANEIRO, AUG. 14 -- .
Rescuers using jackhammers and bulldozers labored today to free about two dozen construction workers believed to be trapped beneath concrete and steel wreckage from a building collapse that killed at least 14 persons.
The director of the city morgue in Belem, 1,320 miles northeast of Rio de Janeiro, said today that 14 bodies had been recovered from the rubble of the 13-story apartment building, which collapsed yesterday.
The falling tons of concrete destroyed a church next door, where prayer services had just ended. Rescue workers heard the wails of a girl, said to be 3, inside the church, but the crying stopped at 4 a.m. today, and officials presumed the girl had died.
Unconfirmed news reports said the building, under construction in a middle-class neighborhood near downtown Belem, was condemned in February when inspectors spotted possible fractures in the supporting columns.
Workers said they noticed numerous cracks in the building's walls this week and reported them to supervisors. Consulting engineers called in Wednesday night had concluded the faults were not serious.
Military troops assisted police, fire and rescue personnel in the rescue efforts after the structure collapsed in a cloud of dust at about 6 p.m.