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Paper: Burned Bank Wasn’t Safe

December 10, 1997

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A high rise office complex where 15 people died in a fire earlier this week did not have a required fire safety certificate, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

The three top floors of the newly built, 25-story Bank Indonesia tower on Jakarta’s main street caught fire Monday. The blaze took five hours to put out.

The Jakarta Post newspaper quoted fire chief Suharso as saying the building’s construction company had not arranged for an inspection by fire safety officers.

No safety certificate had been issued even though about 200 office workers had moved in three months ago.

Fire officers believe the blaze came either from an electrical fault or from sparks from a welding torch.

Suharso said a preliminary investigation showed that exhaust fans failed to clear deadly smoke. Many victims died of asphyxiation. Nine perished in an elevator as they tried to escape.

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