Taiwan investigates building toppled in quake after cans spotted in its pillars

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Tin Cans 'Reinforced Quake Building'

Questions about the structural integrity of a toppled 17-story building have been raised, after it crumbled in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake Saturday morning in southern Taiwan that is known to have killed 18 people and injured 484 so far.

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Images have been circulating online of cooking oil cans clearly visible in pillars of the collapsed Wei Guan Golden Dragon Building in Tainan City, which was built in 1989. Some are questioning whether the oil cans were used as shoddy filler material in the building's construction, and if this had a part to play in the building coming down in the quake.

READ MORE: The aftermath of Taiwan's earthquake in 13 devastating photos

Interior minister, Chen Wei-zen, said an investigation has been launched into whether the building's developer had cut corners, but noted the building had not been listed as a dangerous structure before the quake.

PHOTOS: Devastating scene of the earthquake in Taiwan

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Taiwan investigates building toppled in quake after cans spotted in its pillars
Rescue personnel search through debris at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the island early on February 6, 2016. Rescuers were battling to free more than 100 people trapped in a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the island. AFP PHOTO / TAIWAN OUT / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A woman is taken to an ambulance by rescue workers after being extracted by a crane from the rubble of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck early on February 6, 2016. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations February 6, with at least eleven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
In the early morning, emergency rescuers continue to search for the missing in a collapsed building from an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rescuers on Sunday found signs of live within the remains of the high-rise residential building that collapsed in a powerful, shallow earthquake in southern Taiwan that killed over a dozen people and injured hundreds. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
An army soldier tries to listen to signs of life in a collapsed building from an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rescuers on Sunday found signs of live within the remains of the high-rise residential building that collapsed in a powerful, shallow earthquake in southern Taiwan that killed over a dozen people and injured hundreds. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Rescuers bring out an eight-year old girl survivor to waiting personnel after she was rescued from the rubble at the Wei-Kuan complex which collapsed in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 8, 2016. Two survivors were on February 8 rescued from the rubble of an apartment complex in Taiwan felled by an earthquake, after being trapped for more than 50 hours. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A rescue worker (C) looks for survivors as he walks on the rubble of a building which collapsed in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 8, 2016. Rescuers raced on February 7 to free around 120 people buried under the rubble of an apartment complex felled by an earthquake in southern Taiwan that left 34 confirmed dead, as an investigation began into the collapse. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A rescue worker brings down a victim from the collapsed Wei Kuan complex building in Tainan, southern Taiwan, on February 7, 2016, following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck early on February 6. Rescuers raced on February 7 to free more than 120 people buried under the rubble of an apartment complex felled by an earthquake in southern Taiwan that left 24 confirmed dead, as an investigation began into the collapse. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency rescue workers attend survivor Lee Tsung-tien after being rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building complex in Tainan, Taiwan, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Two survivors - one found shielded under the body of her husband - were pulled out alive from a toppled high-rise apartment building on Monday, two days after a powerful quake. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT
TOPSHOT - Rescue personnel work at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations on February 6, with at least eleven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
Emergency rescuers continue to search for missing in a collapsed building from an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rescuers on Sunday found signs of live within the remains of the high-rise residential building that collapsed in a powerful, shallow earthquake in southern Taiwan that killed over a dozen people and injured hundreds. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 07: A man cries after his mother confirmed died near a collapsed building on February 7, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings, killing at least fourteen people and leaving over one hundred missing in Tainan. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
Rescuers work over rubble at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations in the early hours of February 6, with at least seven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 07: Rescue workers search for victim at a collapsed building on February 7, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings, killing at least fourteen people, and leaving over one hundred missing in Tainan. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
In this photo taken from a drone mounted camera, rescue workers search a collapsed building from an early morning earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. A powerful, shallow earthquake struck southern Taiwan before dawn Saturday. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT
Rescue personnel help a young victim at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the island early on February 6, 2016. Rescuers were battling to free more than 100 people trapped in a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the island. AFP PHOTO / TAIWAN OUT / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A fireman (C) rests near a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 7, 2016, following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck early on February 6. Rescuers raced on February 7 to free more than 120 people buried under the rubble of an apartment complex felled by an earthquake in southern Taiwan that left 24 confirmed dead, as an investigation began into the collapse. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
A child is rescued from a toppled building after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. The earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling at least one high-rise residential building and trapping people inside. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT
A rescue team member searches for missing people in a collapsed building, after an early morning earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling at least one high-rise residential building and trapping people inside. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
TOPSHOT - Rescue workers (C) look for survivors in the remains of a building which collapsed in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan early on February 8, 2016. Rescuers raced on February 7 to free around 120 people buried under the rubble of an apartment complex felled by an earthquake in southern Taiwan that left 34 confirmed dead, as an investigation began into the collapse. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue personnel carry a survivor at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the island early on February 6, 2016. At least 30 people have been rescued after four buildings collapsed after a shallow quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) around 2000 GMT Friday, according to the US Geological Survey, 39 kilometres northeast of Kaohsiung, the second-largest city on the island and an important port. / AFP / Johnson Liu (Photo credit should read JOHNSON LIU/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A woman is extracted by a crane from the rubble of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck early on February 6, 2016. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations February 6, with at least eleven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A 40-year-old man (C), identified by local media as Lee Tsung-tian, is checked by medical personnel after being rescued from the rubble at the Wei-Kuan complex which collapsed in the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 8, 2016. Two survivors were on February 8 rescued from the rubble of an apartment complex in Taiwan felled by an earthquake, after being trapped for more than 50 hours. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers carry a man from the site of a toppled building after an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling at least one high-rise residential building and trapping people inside. Firefighters rushed to pull out survivors. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT
Rescue workers search a collapsed building from an early morning earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. A powerful, shallow earthquake struck southern Taiwan before dawn Saturday. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Rescue workers guide a man from the rubble of a toppled building after an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling at least one high-rise residential building and trapping people inside. Firefighters rushed to pull out survivors. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT
Rescue workers search a toppled building after an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling at least one high-rise residential building and trapping people inside. Firefighters rushed to pull out survivors. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT
Standing below a beam of exposed oil cans used to fill space in some structures, rescuers continue to search for the missing in a collapsed building from an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Rescuers on Sunday found signs of live within the remains of the high-rise residential building that collapsed in a powerful, shallow earthquake in southern Taiwan that killed over a dozen people and injured hundreds. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Rescue personnel work at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations in the early hours of February 6, with at least seven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue personnel work at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations in the early hours of February 6, with at least seven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue personnel carry a survivor at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the island early on February 6, 2016. At least 30 people have been rescued after four buildings collapsed after a shallow quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) around 2000 GMT Friday, according to the US Geological Survey, 39 kilometres northeast of Kaohsiung, the second-largest city on the island and an important port. / AFP / Johnson Liu (Photo credit should read JOHNSON LIU/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue personnel tend to a survivor pulled from the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations in the early hours of February 6, with at least seven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue personnel are seen from a crane gondola as they work at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations in the early hours of February 6, with at least seven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
A military serviceman conducting rescue work is seen amid rubble at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations in the early hours of February 6, with at least seven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 06: Rescue personnel search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building on February 6, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings and killing at least two people in Tainan, according to local news reports. (Photo by Ashley Pon/Getty Images)
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 06: Rescue personnel search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building on February 6, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings and killing at least two people in Tainan, according to local news reports. (Photo by Ashley Pon/Getty Images)
Rescuers work over rubble at the site of a collapsed building in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan on February 6, 2016 following a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake. A powerful earthquake in Taiwan felled a 16-storey apartment complex full of families who had gathered for Lunar New Year celebrations in the early hours of February 6, with at least seven dead and more than 30 feared trapped. AFP PHOTO / Sam Yeh / AFP / SAM YEH (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 06: Heavy smoke comes out from a collapsed building as rescue personnel search for survivors February 6, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings and killing at least two people in Tainan, according to local news reports. (Photo by Ashley Pon/Getty Images)
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 06: Rescue personnel search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building on February 6, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings and killing at least two people in Tainan, according to local news reports. (Photo by Ashley Pon/Getty Images)
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 06: A survivor is lifted from a collapsed building February 6, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings and killing at least two people in Tainan, according to local news reports. (Photo by Ashley Pon/Getty Images)
Rescue workers carry a baby swaddled in a cloth from the rubble of a toppled building after an earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling at least one high-rise residential building and trapping people inside. Firefighters rushed to pull out survivors. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT
TAINAN, TAIWAN - FEBRUARY 06: Rescue personnel search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building on February 6, 2016 in Tainan, Taiwan. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit southern Taiwan early Saturday, toppling several buildings and killing at least two people in Tainan, according to local news reports. (Photo by Ashley Pon/Getty Images)
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Albeit an alarming sight, the cooking oil cans may not have been that much of a structural liability, a building technician told Taiwanese paper, Apple Daily. Tai Yun Fa said the metal oil cans are sometimes used in decorative pillars that aren't weight-bearing, and the light barrels can help reduce the overall weight of the building and benefit its structure.

About 171 people have been rescued from Wei Guan, according to Tainan's emergency center. By Sunday morning, rescuers continued to search for about 132 people still trapped inside.

APTOPIX Taiwan Earthquake

The collapsed Wei Guan building.

Image: Wally Santana/Associated Press

Wei Guan isn't the only building that came down Saturday; nine others in the city collapsed and five are tilted at an angle.

Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage. One of the largest quakes in recent history, a 7.6-magnitude event in central Taiwan in 1999, killed more than 2,300 people.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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