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Crews in Nairobi Tearing Down Ex-U.S. Embassy

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Engineers on Monday began a 90-day project to demolish the bomb-damaged former U.S. Embassy building in the heart of this capital.

The five-story building has been ruled structurally unsound, said embassy spokesman Chris Scharf. The adjacent six-story Ufundi Cooperative House collapsed when the bomb exploded between the two buildings.

The Aug. 7 bombing killed 213 people, including 12 Americans, and injured more than 5,000. A near-simultaneous bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania killed 11 people.

Embassy operations in Nairobi were relocated to temporary quarters and will move to a building outside the city center.

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“The most serious concern I have is safety,” said Roger Currier, an engineer sent from Washington to oversee the demolition. “There are dangers that are not immediately evident . . . like a column that has been cracked.”

He said the first phase of the project, likely to take several weeks, would be to clear rubble from inside the building to determine the structural damage. On Monday, workers were taking measurements and marking the site.

The building will be brought down in pieces with a crane, beginning at the top floor, Currier said. The work is being done by a Kenyan company.

Currier expects the demolition to be completed in 90 days. He said grass will be planted on the site, which the United States leased in 1980.

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