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340 killed in inferno (Customers locked into burning supermarket)
Evening Standard ^ | 2 August 2004 | Chris Millar

Posted on 08/02/2004 8:01:29 AM PDT by Grig

Hundreds of people were left to die inside a blazing supermarket after security staff locked doors to prevent customers from running out without paying, it emerged today.

Initial reports suggested as many as 340 people were killed when the fire tore through a large shopping centre in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion after an industrial propane tank exploded.

Police have charged the store's owner Juan Pio Paiva and his son Daniel with homicide after they allegedly ordered security personnel to lock down every exit. Firefighters had to batter down the locked main entrance to the complex before they could reach hundreds of trapped shoppers.

Some survivors told local newspapers they were unable to open doors as they tried to flee the fire.

The death toll is expected to reach as high as 600. The fire has been called the worst tragedy to strike the country - one of Latin America's poorest - since war broke out against Bolivia in the 1930s.

Firefighters were hampered by the collapse of much of the huge Ycua Bolanos complex and by the dilapidated state of their equipment.

Local television showed firefighters trying to plug holes in leaking water hoses with the soles of their boots.

A chronic shortage of ambulances meant many survivors had to be taken to hospital on the back of pick-up trucks.

Local hospitals, which lack many of the most basic resources, were appealing to citizens to donate simple supplies such as gloves and bandages.

There were chaotic scenes at hospitals across the capital as police held back sobbing relatives desperate to search wards for survivors.

President Nicanor Duarte, who rushed to the scene with his wife,

said it was "a moment of huge grief and tension" for his country. Bodies so far recovered include a baby and a pregnant woman and dozens of children found near the supermarket's toy department.

One survivor, Victor Catan, who lost his wife in the blaze but escaped through the pitch black building with his young son, said: "The doors were shut. I managed to get out with my son, but my wife didn't make it."

Orlando Correa, who lost his sixmonthold nephew in the fire and was searching for his sister's body at the scene, said: "There are no words for this." Police chief Humberto-Nunez said rescue workers had been unable to reach many people inside "because of the ruins and the danger of collapse."

However one firefighter said some of the burned bodies were found inside the supermarket hugging each other.

Other victims were burned alive in their cars as the blaze swept though a parking lot underneath the supermarket.

The blaze broke out yesterday afternoon, one of the supermarket's busiest times, when people from all over the city traditionally headed to the complex to do their weekly shopping.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: buildingcodes; corporategreed; fire; firedeaths; massmurder; paraguay; supermarketfire
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1 posted on 08/02/2004 8:01:31 AM PDT by Grig
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To: Grig

Thank goodnes for the public safety standards we employ in this country. (And our value of human life.)


2 posted on 08/02/2004 8:04:55 AM PDT by GVnana (Tagline? I don't need no steenkin' tagline!)
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To: GVgirl
Thank goodnes for the public safety standards we employ in this country. (And our value of human life.)

We should send a bunch of our trial lawyers to Uraguay.

That'll fix 'em.

3 posted on 08/02/2004 8:06:55 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: Grig

Sort of makes what is happening in Iraq with the Terrorists chump change.


4 posted on 08/02/2004 8:07:08 AM PDT by Joe_October (Saddam supported Terrorists. Al Qaeda are Terrorists. I can't find the link.)
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To: Xenalyte; Allegra

Paco al Carbon redux ping.


5 posted on 08/02/2004 8:11:15 AM PDT by humblegunner
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Well, what I meant was things like doors on public buildings opening outwardly so that more people can get out quickly in the case of an emergency, well-equipped fire departments, and building codes that require adequate pathways.


6 posted on 08/02/2004 8:11:23 AM PDT by GVnana (Tagline? I don't need no steenkin' tagline!)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

"We should send a bunch of our trial lawyers to Uraguay. "

Kerry is having to restrain Edwards at this very moment.


7 posted on 08/02/2004 8:11:25 AM PDT by Rebelbase (H.W.O.V. (How Would Osama Vote?))
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To: Grig

Think of the kind of greed that would make a man lock the doors in a fire to keep people from paying. Just think about that for a minute.


8 posted on 08/02/2004 8:12:04 AM PDT by McGavin999 (If Kerry can't deal with the "Republican Attack Machine" how is he going to deal with Al Qaeda)
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To: Grig

Well, I know who gets my vote for the greediest bastard of the year.


9 posted on 08/02/2004 8:13:56 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn't be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
I bet he's talking to his Lawyer.

Juan Pio Paiva, owner of the Ycua Bolanos supermarket, speaks on a mobile phone as he watches his building on fire on the outskirts of the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, August 1, 2004. At least 215 people are confirmed dead and dozens more injured in the blaze which appears to have started from a gas explosion, trapping dozens of shoppers and workers inside. (PARAGUAY OUT) REUTERS

10 posted on 08/02/2004 8:16:27 AM PDT by OXENinFLA
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To: GVgirl
Well, what I meant was things like doors on public buildings opening outwardly so that more people can get out quickly in the case of an emergency, well-equipped fire departments, and building codes that require adequate pathways.

I know that's what you meant.

Unfortunately, trial lawyers are more likely to happen than something that actually benefits people.

The state of our current health care system is an obvious example. Good doctors are being driven out of the profession because trial lawyers have learned to milk the system.

11 posted on 08/02/2004 8:18:51 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: Grig

Another reason, along with 1000 others, not to visit Paraguay.


12 posted on 08/02/2004 8:20:11 AM PDT by ChuckShick (He's clerking for me...)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

And we've got two trial lawyers as candidates. This speaks volumes for the Dems.


13 posted on 08/02/2004 8:20:47 AM PDT by sarasota
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To: Grig

John Edwards reporting for duty suit in hand.

Seriously though this is just horrible. What a disaster!


14 posted on 08/02/2004 8:21:43 AM PDT by justshutupandtakeit (America's Enemies: foreign and domestic RATmedia agree Bush must be destroyed.)
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To: OXENinFLA
This is actually history just repeating itself. Remember the notorious Triangle Fire Warehouse incident?

That's the one that sparked the labor and feminist movement for women.

I can hear the liberals now "Those dirty greedy store owners!"
15 posted on 08/02/2004 8:22:24 AM PDT by conservator
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To: Grig

340 people? Tragic and apparently preventable. Prayers for the families of the lost.


16 posted on 08/02/2004 8:23:17 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (It's a mighty world we live in but the truth is we're only passin' through)
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To: Grig

This is where people like Jessica Lange, Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore need to live.


17 posted on 08/02/2004 8:24:18 AM PDT by Lijahsbubbe
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To: Grig

This is a heartwrenching story. And I hope the owner is charged with everyone's death.


18 posted on 08/02/2004 8:24:43 AM PDT by najida (Without pack-rats, there wouldn't be any antiques.)
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To: McGavin999
Think of the kind of greed that would make a man lock the doors in a fire to keep people from paying. Just think about that for a minute.

He did it because he could.

19 posted on 08/02/2004 8:24:54 AM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: McGavin999
Think of the kind of greed that would make a man lock the doors in a fire to keep people from paying.

"According to official reports, twenty-five (25) people died and another fourty-nine (49) were injuried as the result of a fire in the Imperial chicken processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina yesterday. Witnesses, at the scene, described panicked workers as screaming, "Let me out!....Let me out!", as they tried to kick open doors that were reportedly padlocked by the plant management to prevent vandalism and theft. Footprint indentations were evident on the inside of at least one door, that was seen to be locked from the outside."
FIRE VIOLATIONS KILL TWENTY-FIVE IN CHICKEN PLANT

20 posted on 08/02/2004 8:25:06 AM PDT by dread78645 (Sorry Mr. Franklin, We couldn't keep it.)
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To: conservator
I can hear the liberals now "Those dirty greedy store owners!"

In this case, they are correct.

21 posted on 08/02/2004 8:25:12 AM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
We should send a bunch of our trial lawyers to Uraguay.

You can send all of them, and with my blessing, but the fire took place in Paraguay.

22 posted on 08/02/2004 8:25:25 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows ('Hey, maybe "Jihadists For Kerry" is what "JFK" really stands for.' --Blood of Tyrants)
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To: Grig
Shades of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911. The owner had locked all the exits to prevent employee pilferage. That plus inadequate fire escapes and fire equipment, killed 146, mostly young girls working as seamstresses.

Triangle Fire

I guess these folks are just about 100 years behind the times.

23 posted on 08/02/2004 8:27:41 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: GVgirl

unless you work at a chicken processing plant in arkansas as happened a few years ago


24 posted on 08/02/2004 8:28:27 AM PDT by Walkingfeather
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To: Grig
security staff locked doors to prevent customers from running out without paying

Okay, so you prevent customers from taking merchandise that was burned up anyway. Nice. Enjoy the flames in Hell.

25 posted on 08/02/2004 8:28:34 AM PDT by JOAT
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To: OXENinFLA
"Paging Mr. Edwards!....Paging Mr. Edwards!....

Mr. John Edwards....white courtesy telephone, please!"

26 posted on 08/02/2004 8:28:34 AM PDT by albee (yes!!)
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To: GVgirl

"Well, what I meant was things like doors on public buildings opening outwardly"

Not locking the doors after the fire broke out would've helped, too.


27 posted on 08/02/2004 8:29:04 AM PDT by poindexter
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To: Grig

I wonder if they got the bills paid?

What a bunch of lunatics. Put this one in the same class as that story about the Saudi girls who burned to death in their school because they couldn't appear outside without a veil.


28 posted on 08/02/2004 8:45:58 AM PDT by ZULU
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To: GVgirl
Thank goodnes for the public safety standards we employ in this country.

Very, very true. In some business's I've owned it's been expensive to comply with well thought out codes, but they are worth it. These two had their eye on the Peso, rather than their customers and their store, now they have lost all three.

I wonder when Latin America will ever get its act together. I fear it will be a long wait.

29 posted on 08/02/2004 8:45:58 AM PDT by elbucko (A Feral Republican)
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To: AnAmericanMother
Shades of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911. The owner had locked all the exits to prevent employee pilferage. That plus inadequate fire escapes and fire equipment, killed 146, mostly young girls working as seamstresses.

My great-grandmother worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. She left her employment when she got married - just a few months before the fire. She lost a lot of friends in it.

Maven
30 posted on 08/02/2004 8:50:20 AM PDT by Maven
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To: McGavin999
Think of the kind of greed.....Just think about that for a minute.

It's amazing isn't it? It's the only reason I use the term "Regulated Capitalism" to describe my business philosophy. In any country, any society, there really are people this greedy. However, it has been my personal experience that these same sort of people are usually Democrats.

31 posted on 08/02/2004 8:56:36 AM PDT by elbucko (A Feral Republican)
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To: Grig

Revolutions have started because of things like this. I can't think of a more horrific way to die.


32 posted on 08/02/2004 8:59:17 AM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: Joe_October
Sort of makes what is happening in Iraq with the Terrorists chump change.

Well....I wouldn't go that far...

;-)

33 posted on 08/02/2004 8:59:28 AM PDT by Allegra (It depends on what the meaning of "is" is......)
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To: GVgirl
Well, what I meant was things like doors on public buildings opening outwardly so that more people can get out quickly in the case of an emergency, well-equipped fire departments, and building codes that require adequate pathways.

Yes, and all this stems from respect for human life. Which is why religion, especially Christianity as it is more numerous, should be protected from attacks by the atheists. You may be surprised hearing this from a Jew, but I do believe that attacks on my fellow Christian Americans are allowed to continue, this country too will lose its goodness. We should never take this for granted: public policy is never better than the people that adopt it.

34 posted on 08/02/2004 9:07:51 AM PDT by TopQuark
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To: Maven
OMG - that's awful. She must have felt badly - that eternal question, why is one spared and others lost?

(You realize that 100 years from now somebody will be saying the same thing to somebody who lost or nearly lost a relative on 9-11 - and the response will be the same.)

Did you know your g-grandmother? I only knew one of mine, she lived to age 97.

35 posted on 08/02/2004 9:09:06 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: TopQuark
You may be surprised hearing this from a Jew . . .

I'm not. We're in this together. You are the children of the Lord by birthright - we're only children by adoption. And the Lord doesn't break his covenants. We owe you the respect that we owe our older brothers and sisters, even if we disagree on some points. ;-) And like family, when a murderous outsider attacks, we all stand together.

36 posted on 08/02/2004 9:13:32 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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To: JOAT
Okay, so you prevent customers from taking merchandise that was burned up anyway. Nice. Enjoy the flames in Hell.

Indeed.

37 posted on 08/02/2004 9:16:48 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: elbucko

They will get their act together manana...what's the hurry, gringo? ;)


38 posted on 08/02/2004 9:21:32 AM PDT by Wage Slave
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To: AnAmericanMother
Thank you for your wise words, AmericanMother. And you may be sure that you have my deepest respect, too. Hopefully, we'll overcome the threat that faces us all. Now, how can we convince the atheists that they too sould worry and support us?
39 posted on 08/02/2004 9:24:41 AM PDT by TopQuark
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To: Grig
God rest their souls. My God also take care of the owner.

This reminds me of the 1942 Coconut Grove fire in Boston. There were lots of mistakes, but a couple of exit doors were bolted shut so people couldn't skip out on their bill. They had always been shut, even before the fire. Over 500 people died. The fire changed fire laws across the country. For example, many bodies were found piled at the entrance glass revolving doors as it had stopped working. Any time those door are in use today, there has to be a regular door on each side. Also, there were all sorts of flammable decorations to create the 'Coconut Grove' theme. Lots of straw, plastic, fake trees, etc. The fire started in a lounge when a 16-year old busboy was changing a lightbulb on the satin covered ceiling which caught fire and spread very quickly. He used a match because it was dark. Unfortunately, that ceiling was the dance floor for the club's upper level. People were dancing as the flames shot through the floor.

The Coconut Grove fire was responsible for revamping fire laws everywhere.

40 posted on 08/02/2004 9:31:02 AM PDT by Jenya (Gore, he's a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
Unfortunately, trial lawyers are more likely to happen than something that actually benefits people. The state of our current health care system is an obvious example. Good doctors are being driven out of the profession because trial lawyers have learned to milk the system.

Ugh. You're probably right. You got me thinking. A 100 years ago, in this country, it wasn't the lawyers, but churches and civic minded women reformers who watchdogged public safety. That role has all but vanished. Too bad, really. We're political, and secular and very un-"civic".

41 posted on 08/02/2004 9:37:54 AM PDT by GVnana (Tagline? I don't need no steenkin' tagline!)
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To: GVgirl

Even if Paraguay had these building codes, all it would take is a pay-off to get someone to look the other way.


42 posted on 08/02/2004 9:39:56 AM PDT by brianl703 (Border crossing is a misdemeanor. So is drunk driving. Which do we have more checkpoints for?)
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To: TopQuark

See mine #41.


43 posted on 08/02/2004 9:40:59 AM PDT by GVnana (Tagline? I don't need no steenkin' tagline!)
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To: TopQuark
Yes, and all this stems from respect for human life. Which is why religion, especially Christianity as it is more numerous, should be protected from attacks by the atheists.

Is Paraguay not a devoutly Christian nation?

44 posted on 08/02/2004 9:49:31 AM PDT by Physicist
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To: brianl703
Even if Paraguay had these building codes, all it would take is a pay-off to get someone to look the other way.

I'm afraid you're probably right. You have to wonder sometimes. The French allow themselves to be ruled by legal elites. Latin America is rife with corruption and abuse of the lower classes. What allows their public to tolerate these abuses, when we have such a history working in another way?

45 posted on 08/02/2004 9:50:15 AM PDT by GVnana (Tagline? I don't need no steenkin' tagline!)
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To: poindexter
Not locking the doors after the fire broke out would've helped, too.

That's just murder.

46 posted on 08/02/2004 9:51:59 AM PDT by GVnana (Tagline? I don't need no steenkin' tagline!)
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To: McGavin999

It must come from the same low down mentality that the Saudi police used several years ago when they locked dozens of young female students in a burning school because they were trying to escape without their headscarves. Almost demonic in its reckless disregard.


47 posted on 08/02/2004 9:53:08 AM PDT by foreshadowed at waco
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To: McGavin999

Is it true? The owner could not have locked all the doors himself without an electronic system; would the security guards be that far in the "ve vere only following orders" mode?

Mrs VS


48 posted on 08/02/2004 9:56:13 AM PDT by VeritatisSplendor
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To: Grig

I wonder what the libertarian anarchists, who oppose any public regulations including those related to fire safety, think about this incident.


49 posted on 08/02/2004 9:58:48 AM PDT by Truthsayer20
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To: TopQuark

I think the best thing of all will be to pray.


50 posted on 08/02/2004 10:13:30 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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