Thu, Nov 01, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Negligence caused deadly Manila mall blast, probe says

AFP , MANILA

Police in the Philippines said on Wednesday that "negligence" was the cause of a powerful explosion in a Manila shopping mall that left 11 dead and more than 100 wounded.

Manila Police Chief Geary Barias said that civil and criminal charges could be filed against those responsible for keeping the basement area in the Glorietta mall where the blast occurred on Oct. 19.

Asked by reporters if the blast could be blamed on an accident, Baris said "negligence would be a better term."

"We will now determine in the next stage: who is responsible for the 11 deaths and more than 100 injuries," Barias told reporters.

The explosion was likely caused by a mixture of gases in the basement, possibly from a malfunctioning septic tank or a diesel tank, the police official said.

Barias said police and foreign investigators agreed the explosion was not caused by a bomb and cited a report by an Australian Federal Police team.

The Australian team concluded that there was "no evidence to suggest that the explosion had been caused or initiated by an improvised explosive device," Barias said.

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