Rescue workers carry an injured person on a stretcher at a site where a building collapsed in Changsha. Reuters
Separately, police arrested nine people including the building owner on suspicion of causing a major liability accident, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
State broadcaster CCTV showed video of rescuers bringing a woman out on a stretcher about 4:30pm. Some could be heard shouting words of encouragement during the operation. She was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition, CCTV said. State media reported another person was brought out alive in the evening but provided no details.
Seven people have been rescued from the building, which collapsed Friday afternoon in the inland city of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. About 20 others remained trapped, and another 39 had not been accounted for as of late Saturday.
Besides the owner, police said they had arrested three people in charge of design and construction and five others for what they said was a false safety assessment for a guest house on the building's fourth to sixth floors.
A rescuer works with a rescue dog at the collapse site of a building in Changsha, China, on Saturday. AP
In photos the building appeared to have pancaked down to about the second floor, leaving rubble strewn on the sidewalk. It had stood in a row of buildings about six stories tall.
Xinhua said the building had eight floors, including a restaurant on the second floor, a cafe on the third floor and residences on the top two floors. Other media reports said it was a six-story building. Tenants had made structural modifications to the building, but the cause of the collapse remained under investigation, Xinhua said.
Police said the Hunan Xiangda Engineering Testing Co. issued the false safety report on April 13. The arrested included the legal representative of the company and four technicians suspected of providing the assessment.
Following an increase in the number of collapses of self-built buildings in recent years, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday that it was necessary to check such structures for any hidden dangers and fix them to prevent major accidents, Xinhua said.
Poor adherence to safety standards, including the illegal addition of extra floors and failure to use reinforcing iron bars, is often blamed for such disasters.