Fri, Feb 01, 2008 - Page 6 News List

Factory blast kills 17 in Istanbul, dozens injured

AGENCIES , ISTANBUL, TURKEY

An explosion at a factory building in Istanbul killed 17 people and injured 68 others yesterday, authorities said. Rescue workers searched the rubble for any survivors.

Police said the blast had been caused by an explosion in the factory's furnace room, but Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler said the cause of the blast was still to be confirmed.

"We don't know [the cause of the explosion], we're still looking into it," he said.

"Right now, there is nothing linked to terror," he said.

Businesses in the five-story building included textile makers and an unlicensed fireworks manufacturer, according to local media. Nearby buildings were also damaged.

Mehmet Bakar, head of Istanbul's health authority, said the death toll was 17, CNN-Turk television reported. Three of the 68 injured were in serious condition, Bakar said.

But police said more people were still under the rubble and that the death toll could rise.

Part of the factory building in the Davutpasa district of Istanbul collapsed, and a fire broke out on the top floor, NTV said.

Television footage showed at least two men lying in the street. Another man with blood on his face walked nearby. Rubble lay strewn around the shattered building, and falling debris had smashed several vehicles.

A witness who identified himself as Ali told CNN-Turk that he heard two explosions, five minutes apart from each other, as he was working at a nearby factory.

"White smoke was rising into the sky from the factory as we came to the front of the building. People were running around. I helped carry out six injured people," he said.

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