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Charges Filed in Peru Disco Fire

August 22, 2002

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LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Prosecutors filed manslaughter charges Wednesday against a bartender and two owners of a night club where a fire killed 29 people last month.

Fahed Mitre, co-owner of Utopia, and bartender Roberto Ferreyros were accused of igniting the blaze, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Witnesses reported that bartenders were lighting lines of alcohol poured along the bar and igniting jets of gas from aerosol cans just before the blaze erupted July 20.

Percy North, co-owner and manager of the club, was also accused of voluntary manslaughter for failing to equip the club with exit signs, fire extinguishers or emergency lighting, the statement said.

The unlicensed club, located in a shopping mall in the upscale Surco district, was popular among Lima’s elite. The dead included the daughter of a former congressman and nieces of two top government officials.

Prosecutors also charged Surco district mayor Carlos Dargent and three municipal officials with negligence for allowing the club to operate.

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