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Indonesian factory owner named suspect over deadly fire

Three suspects have been named in connection to a deadly blaze at an Indonesian fireworks factory that killed 48 workers and was caused by sparks from welding equipment.

Published: 28th October 2017 02:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th October 2017 02:00 PM   |  A+A-

Firefighters work at the site of an explosion at a firecracker factory in Tangerang on the outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

JAKARTA: Three suspects have been named in connection to a deadly blaze at an Indonesian fireworks factory that killed 48 workers and was caused by sparks from welding equipment, police said Saturday.

The factory outside Jakarta had only been operating for six weeks when the ferocious fire broke out on Thursday, killing nearly half of the company's employees and injuring 45 others in one of Indonesia's worst industrial accidents in recent memory.

Factory owner Indra Liyono was named a suspect by police along with the company's operational director Andri Hartanto and welding equipment operator Subarna Ega.

The trio could face a maximum of five years in prison and a Rp 500 million ($37,000) fine for workplace negligence resulting in death.

"The witnesses' testimonies and forensic test revealed the cause of the fire was the welding equipment sparks which spread to the fireworks material," Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono told a press conference.

Liyono and Hartanto have been questioned by police while Ega's whereabouts are unknown. 

Police also said that the company, Panca Buana Cahaya Sukses, employed at least three underage children, a violation which could lead to its closure.

Deadly fires are not uncommon in Indonesia, a sprawling country of more than 250 million people where safety regulations are often flouted.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) said Indonesia needed to increase its number of labour inspectors, which was fewer than 2000, and raise safety awareness among workers.



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