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Army Called In To Help Control Blaze; Damage Estimated At $90 Million

June 13, 1988

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ A fire in the country’s largest shopping center burned for a second day Sunday with losses rising to $90 million and the army ordered to help control the blaze.

Lt. Gen. Antonio Imbert Barrera, armed forces minister, ordered soldiers to join the firemen immediately after visiting the Plaza Naco shopping center, located in the capital’s upper class Naco district, Saturday evening.

The police also helped firemen keep the blaze from spreading to neighboring buildings.

Fire Department spokesman Buenaventura Torres said Sunday that the fire was under control, but that the dense smoke and lack of water and equipment such as oxygen masks and protective clothing hindered firemen’s efforts.

Some firemen fainted and suffered cuts and bruises, but no other injuries were reported.

The fire, one of the largest recorded in this nation of 6.5 million, began early Saturday morning and destroyed most of the more than 100 shops, movie theaters, offices, banks and restaurants in the mall.

Firemen said the blaze was caused by faulty wiring in an auxiliary power plant turned on during a power failure.

Shopping center administrators and shop owners estimated damage at about $90 million.

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