FOR decades, Jaya Shopping Centre, better known as Jaya Supermarket, in Section 14 was the landmark in Petaling Jaya. It housed the first supermart in the area when it was built in 1974, and for most of the 80s and early 90s, it was the focal point of activities for PJ residents.
As the city grew, and newer, bigger shopping malls became the flavour of the day, Jaya lost its lustre. Its owners decided to redevelop the area and the tenants were asked to vacate the blue building by 6 Feb 2008.
But on the afternoon of 28 May 2009, the empty building, which was undergoing upgrading works, suffered a partial collapse when a demolition operation went badly awry.
Nine people, all Indonesian construction workers, were trapped when the back portion of the six-storey building came down. As of 10pm that night, there has been one confirmed fatality, and two workers rescued. The search for the six other workers remained ongoing.
More than 100 police and rescue workers, including Smart, the Civil Defence Department and Rela members, were on the scene. Police had to constantly remind the hordes of curious onlookers to stay back and allow the rescuers to do their jobs.
The incident also caused a massive traffic jam on busy Jalan Semangat.