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31 Jan 2008 07:43
At least 19 people were killed and 69 were injured on Thursday when an explosion ripped through an Istanbul building that housed workshops including an illegal fireworks factory, police and the city’s governor said.
Television footage showed debris from the building strewn through the streets of the industrial district of Davutpasa.
“There was a furnace near where the [fireworks] were stored. There is the issue of that furnace exploding,” state-run Anatolian news agency quoted Governor Muammer Guler as saying.
“One of the furnaces could have also exploded on a lower floor where there was a sock and paint factory,” he said.
Police said 69 people had been injured in the blast.
The explosion originated with a fire on the building’s fourth floor, Guler said.
Three of those killed were bystanders in the street watching the blaze.
There were more than 130 workshops and offices in the building complex where the blast occurred.
Six of the 17 dead had been pulled out of the rubble from the building that partially collapsed under the force of the blast, Guler said, adding that nobody alive remained under the debris.
There were fears immediately after the blast that a bomb might be to blame.
Six people were killed and dozens injured in a blast in the south-east Turkish city of Diyarbakir earlier this month that authorities blamed on separatist militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). - Reuters
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