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Karaoke blaze kills 12 in Indonesia

At least 12 people have died and about 70 others have been injured after a fire broke out in a crowded karaoke bar on Indonesia's Sulawesi island. Early inquiries found that an electrical short circuit started the blaze.

Witnesses at the three-storey building in Manado said the fire began in one of the rooms on the second floor of Inul Vizta Karaoke club at about 12:30 a.m. local time on Sunday (Saturday, 1630 UTC). Many of the victims could not hear the fire alarm ringing, however.

Local news website "Kompas" reported that the victims died after becoming trapped on the second and third floor.

According to provincial police, most of them died of smoke inhalation. Many of the injured suffered broken bones after jumping from the third storey.

"The fire filled the rooms and corridors with thick black smoke and people started panicking and running helter-skelter in the dark," provincial police spokesman Wilson Damanik told Agence France-Presse, adding that investigations into the cause were still ongoing.

"So far we found that there was no emergency staircase, only one common staircase to access every floor," he said.

ksb/cmk (AFP, dpa)

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