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Fifth Victim of Tanker Explosion Dies

July 10, 1987

HERBORN, West Germany (AP) _ A fifth person has died and 13 others remained hospitalized after a gasoline tanker truck crashed into an ice cream parlor, authorities said today.

Officials in this town 35 miles northwest of Frankfurt said the fifth victim died Thursday of injuries from Tuesday’s accident, which triggered a series of explosions and fires that turned downtown Herborn into an inferno.

Two bodies were found in the rubble and two people died later of burns. The four victims all were women between the ages of 18 and 20.

The officials said one of those hospitalized was in critical condition, but they said they did not have the conditions of the others. Among the injured is the driver of the truck, who has not been identified.

In nearby Limburg, the prosecutors office said it would resume questioning the 48-year-old driver next week. On Thursday, the driver told authorities that the brakes on his truck had failed, according to an official at the prosecutor’s office who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said the driver would remain hospitalized for three to four weeks, but declined to release the man’s name or give other details of his injuries.

The explosions leveled three buildings and nine others were gutted by fire.

Rescuers originally feared that at least 30 people were killed in the crash, but lowered the toll when dozens of people who had been reported missing were accounted for.

The ice cream parlor was full of young people on the warm summer evening when the truck, carrying 9,000 gallons of gasoline, barrelled into the building. The crash ruptured a gas main and sparked a series of fires and explosions.

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