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Hotel Owner Faces Murder Charge in Deadly Manila Fire - 2001-08-20


Authorities in the Philippines say they are considering murder charges against the owner of a hotel in Manila that was the scene of a deadly fire, two days ago. Saturday's pre-dawn blaze killed 75 people and injured about 50 others.

Manila Fire Marshall Romeo Villafuerte told reporters Monday charges of negligence are being filed against the owner of the Manor Hotel, in northern Manila's Quezon City.

Rescue workers say most of the victims died from suffocation after becoming trapped in their rooms by heavy smoke. The hotel had been cited a year ago for a lack of fire alarms and fire extinguishers and for blocked fire exits. Authorities say local fire officials who allowed the hotel to remain open might also be charged. The fire is reported to have been caused by an electrical short-circuit above a third floor storeroom. The smoldering wires sent heavy smoke into the upper floors.

It was the worst fire disaster in the Philippines since more than 160 people died in a discotheque blaze, five years ago.

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