Rescue workers pulled 12 bodies from out of the rubble of a 12-story building which collapsed the day before in Egypt's Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, the city police chief said Tuesday.

Three people were rescued while 15 more are feared dead, Maj. Gen. Abdel-Meguid Selim told The Associated Press.

"We are in a race against time," he said. "We hope to get as many victims alive as possible," he added.

Rescue workers from Cairo and other nearby provinces with sniffing dogs were deployed to the site of the incident.

The government reported on Monday, the day of the event, that only three people had been killed.

The local government had previously ordered the building, located in the Loran suburb, to be demolished down or renovated as it was built without authorization, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency.

Selim however cautioned that it was too early to tell what caused the building to collapse. "We have to wait and see what the investigation reveals."

Buildings regularly collapse in Egypt, either as a result of deterioration with time or shoddy construction that fails to meet standards and regulations. Also, some owners tend to illegally add on more stories to buildings destabilizing the structure.