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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fire accidents in world

At least nine people were killed and 12 critically injured in a devastating fire that broke out at an illegal leather factory at Topsia in the Eastern fringes of the metro late last night.

According to official sources the fire broke out at around 0230 hours in the night and quickly engulfed the factory that was on the second floor of the building. To make matters worse, in the chaos that resulted, the keys to the only exit was lost.

It was only after the fire brigade arrived at around 0400 hours that the door was pulled down and the rest rescued. Official sources said that nine people had died, that included women working in the factory, and 12 were battling for life at National Medical College Hospital with 90 per cent burn injuries.

Another story, Polish officials said today they feared the worst as rescuers battled to reach 15 miners trapped in a deep coal mine after an explosion that killed at least eight others.

More than 70 rescuers worked through the night and tried to pump air into a tunnel to help them overcome ''hell'' conditions in the mine beneath the town of Ruda Slaska, about 300 km southwest of the capital Warsaw, after yesterday's blast.

A spokesman for the state-run Kompania Weglowa coal group said it could take several hours to ventilate the underground area and that it was impossible to say if the rescuers would reach the 15 in time. Seven badly burned bodies have been hauled from the mine, and an eighth miner has been confirmed dead.

''The rescuers have reached the eighth man but were forced to withdraw due to the threat the methane will explode again,'' said Madej. ''Ventilating the shaft may last up to 8-9 hours. It is difficult to say what barriers we will meet (after that).'' Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski flew to the mine to watch rescue efforts and promised help for the families of the miners.

The Halemba mine is one of the oldest in Poland and has been in operation since 1957.

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