In Venezuela, 22 people have died after fire at a night-club which, witnesses say, was started deliberately.
SV Police and crowd surround ambulance outside burned-out night-club in Caracas.
SV Firemen placing bodies in ambulance.
CU Body of woman lifted into ambulance.
SV Caracas Chief of police and officials leaving night-club after inspecting damage.
CU Chief of police speaking in Spanish.
CU Body put in ambulance.
GV Police cars and ambulance leave scene with sirens wailing.
CU Fire expert talking in Spanish to reporter.
SV Fire officer walking down charred steps leading to nightclub.
SV Charred poster.
SV INT Firemen sifting through burnt wreckage inside nightclub.
CU Charred nightclub seats. (2 SHOTS)
CU Burned doors leading from nightclub.
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Background: In Venezuela, 22 people have died after fire at a night-club which, witnesses say, was started deliberately. Survivors said the fire was set after a customer had an argument with a hostess at the night-club.
SYNOPSIS: The fire was started at 5.00 am at the 'Claro De Luna' nightclub in the centre of Caracas. The twelve fire appliances at the scene were unable to save the lives of thirteen men and nine women. Many of those who died were asphyxiated because of poor ventilation in the first floor nightclub. Some time after the fire had been put out identification of the victims was still not complete.
The chief of police explained that identifying the bodies would take some time because many of them were badly charred, and personal effects had been destroyed in the blaze.
Authorities were concerned at the extent of the death toll. Investigation showed that many of the nightclub windows had been boarded up by the owners as part of the interior decoration. Five people managed to crash through these boardings and jump to safety.
The emergency exit, which could have been a means of escape was blocked by furniture and crates of drink. A fire officer told reporters that the people inside the club were trapped. The doors were bolted, they could not get out, and they burned to death.
Witnesses say the fire was started by Private Pedro Arredondo, a member of the Venezuelan National Guard. He was taken into police custody. Attendants at a nearby petrol station told police that he had forced them at gunpoint to sell him petrol. Survivors said he then saturated the staircase leading to the nightclub and set fire to it.
Arredondo's action followed an argument with a nightclub hostess. News reports say the deaths would have been avoided if club patrons had heeded Arredondo's own warning that he was about to set the building alight.