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Death toll rises to 11 in nursing-home fire



Published: Tue, March 4, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Death toll rises to 11in nursing-home fire

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The death toll has risen to 11 in a nursing-home blaze reportedly started by a patient who set her bedsheets on fire.

John Shack, who had been a resident at Greenwood Health Center, died at Hartford Hospital late Friday, two days after the fire. Nearly two dozen residents were injured and 10 remained hospitalized Saturday, with four in critical condition.

One man who died in the blaze, 76-year-old Angel Diaz, had gone back into the burning building after pushing Juan Rodriguez to safety in a wheelchair, The Hartford Courant reported Saturday.

"Mr. Diaz is a hero," said Rodriguez's daughter-in-law, Marisol Rodriguez. "He died a hero."

Juan Rodriguez was among the patients in critical condition.

Investigators interviewed a 23-year-old patient accused of starting the blaze, but had not determined whether the fire was intentionally set.

The nursing home, built in 1969, was up to code, according to the city fire marshal, even though most of the one-story building lacked sprinklers.

Small plane crashesin Russia, killing 11

MOSCOW -- A small plane that was carrying skydivers crashed Saturday in central Russia, killing 11 people. Fourteen people survived, many of them by parachuting to safety.

The L-410, which belonged to a local flying club, was at about 10,000 feet when it began to break up.

Russian news media said the plane's tail fell off and then its left wing. The aircraft crashed into a field near the village of Barki, about 100 miles north of Moscow.

Many of the skydivers were swept out of the plane, officials said. They managed to open their parachutes and land without incident.

"They had about a minute and a half before they planned to jump when it started to fall," Alexander Parfyonov, deputy head of the Tver region's emergency department, told Rossiya television. "Ten people by a miracle were pulled out by a stream of air and they landed [safely]."

It was not clear how the other four people survived the crash.

400 killed in massacre,Congo rebel leader says

KIGALI, Rwanda -- Hundreds of civilians were killed and hundreds more were missing after Congolese rebels allied with the government seized a key town in northeastern Congo and launched a two-day campaign of murder, rape, looting and destruction, a rival rebel leader said Saturday.

Thomas Lubanga, head of the Union of Congolese Patriots, or UPC, said at least 400 people were killed Feb. 24-25 and 500 were missing after his troops were pushed from the strategic town of Bogoro during an attack by the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement, or RCD-ML, and allied Lendu tribal militiamen. Both groups receive aid from the government of President Joseph Kabila.

There was no way to independently verify the claim; the U.N. mission to Congo, or MONUC, which is aware of the reported killings, said the area is too dangerous for its unarmed military observers to investigate.

"We know there has been fighting going on in that area over the past few days," Col. Tim Watts, chief of staff of U.N. forces in Congo, told The Associated Press from the capital, Kinshasa. "Security in the region is fragile, and the situation is becoming more tense, even in Bunia."

The reported perpetrators of the massacre could not be found to comment.

Train wreck in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A tourist train overturned Saturday near a popular resort in central Taiwan, killing 16 people and injuring 100, an official said.

Soon after, a helicopter evacuating injured people from the site crashed, but no one was killed.

The train derailed shortly after the locomotive crossed a small concrete bridge on Ali Mountain. One car tumbled off the bridge and into a ravine, while two others stood just off the tracks at 45-degree angles in the heavily wooded area, local TV reported.

The accident killed 16 people and injured 100, the Department of Health said in a statement.

Li Chien-chuan, vice chairman of the Agricultural Council, said the 10 people aboard the Alouette B234 rescue helicopter survived the crash landing. TV reports showed the damaged aircraft leaning on its side in a thicket. Its rotors were torn off and laying in the brush.

Officials said they didn't know the cause of either accident, though passengers told local news media the train was traveling fast when it derailed. The train route includes a series of dangerous switchbacks.

Associated Press




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