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Death toll up to 17 and dozens injured in blaze at Indonesian Karaoke bar

At least 17 people have been killed and dozens injured in a fire that tore through a crowded karaoke bar on Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island.

The fire appears to have been started by an electrical short-circuit on the second floor of the three-storey Inul Vizta club in the city of Manado after midnight last night (0100hrs Sunday 25th Oct).

Indonesian Red Cross official Mahmud Paputungan estimated the number of people wounded to be about 70 with many jumping from the 3rd floor.

Inspectors have found only a common staircase with no emergency exit, panicked people smashed windows to flee as black smoke spread through the Inul Vizta building, but others were trapped in the building, which reportedly had only one access door. Most of the victims are said to have died from smoke inhalation.

Associated Press quotes witnesses as saying firefighters took about an hour to arrive, leaving workers to try to put out the fire with extinguishers.

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<p>Asia Pacific Fire, Editor</p>

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