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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 02:23 GMT
Guatemala market blaze kills 15
Fire in Guatemala City
The blaze could be seen 10km away, witnesses said
At least 15 people have been killed in a fire that swept through a sprawling market in the capital of Guatemala.

Witnesses said a cigarette had set a fireworks stall ablaze in the La Terminal market in Guatemala City.

Firefighters said 14 bodies had been recovered from the scene and one person died in hospital.

Grain and vegetables are the mainstay of the market but a number of illegal firework stalls appear ahead of the holiday seasons.

Suffocated

Witnesses said the blaze could be seen 10km (six miles) away.

The market covers up to 8sq km and about 40 permanent shops were quickly destroyed.

One firework vendor told the Associated Press news agency a fellow vendor had thrown a lit cigarette into a street but the wind had blown it back and it ignited a pack of fireworks.

Fire department spokesman Ricardo Lemus said the cause was still under investigation.

He said some stallholders who stayed behind to protect their goods had died of suffocation in the poisonous fumes.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Guatemala
24 Oct 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Guatemala
24 Oct 06 |  Country profiles



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