Five killed in Izmir workplace explosion

10:58, April 19, 2011      

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Ongoing search efforts on Monday at a workplace in Izmir that suffered a massive explosion on late Sunday revealed two more dead, bringing the total to five including a firefighter.

The explosion happened when gas compressed in the storehouse in the back, and the explosion was immediately followed by a fire, reported the semi-official Anatolia News Agency.

The chemicals present at the factory spread the fire quickly throughout the building and to neighboring buildings and cars.

Firefighters had a hard time tackling the fire and one firefighter, Ozan Avsar, was crushed by tiles falling from the top floor and died in a hospital.

Four workers at the factory were also confirmed dead. The bodies of two of the workers, Mustafa Kurt and Harun Cirit, were unable to be reached for several hours.

The other two workers were Mustafa Demiralay and Yener Erbas.

The factory, located in the town of Karabaglar, did not have a permit for production according to Karabaglar Mayor Sitki Kurum.

Though, Kurum added, as a new municipality, some of the documents might be missing and they were in discussion with the Konak district to see if they existed.

In addition, the municipal teams had conducted an investigation in the area two weeks ago and found the workplace was missing some necessary documents.

The owner of the workplace, Niyazi Odabasi, was taken to courthouse to be questioned by the prosecutor on the grounds of " causing deaths due to negligence in the workplace."

The prosecutor later sent Odabasi to the court to be arrested, but he was let go by decision of the judge. Upon the prosecutor's appeal, the higher court also decided not to arrest Odabasi.

Many work vehicles from the Karabaglar and Izmir municipalities are still on the scene clearing up the debris.

Source: Xinhua
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