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Paraguay Supermarket Fire Kills 296 - 2004-08-02


Rescue workers in Paraguay have resumed the search for victims of a fire that swept through a shopping complex, killing 296 people.

Authorities say rescuers are moving cautiously due to fears of a collapse at the building on the outskirts of the capital, Asuncion.

Officials say they believe gas canisters triggered the fire as the building was crowded with Sunday customers.

Survivors of the blaze say security guards locked the doors to prevent looting as the fire spread.

Police arrested one of the building's owners (Juan Pio Paiva) who denied ordering the guards to close the doors.

After touring the site Sunday, President Nicanor Duarte declared three days of national mourning for the victims.

Officials in neighboring Argentina have begun sending medical workers and relief supplies to help hundreds of people injured in the fire.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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