Burma Warehouse Explosion Kills 17

Posted December 29th, 2011 at 2:25 am (UTC-5)
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A large explosion at a warehouse in Burma's largest city, Rangoon, has killed at least 17 people and injured about 80 others.

Witnesses reported a loud blast early Thursday at what appeared to be a medical warehouse in an industrial district of eastern Rangoon.

Officials say the explosion triggered a fire that quickly spread to several buildings nearby.

The pre-dawn blast startled local residents, who quickly left their homes to survey the damage.

The explosion shattered windows and severely damaged several buildings in the immediate area.

The number of casualties is expected to rise as more victims are brought to local hospitals.

Police say they are continuing their investigation of the blast and will not comment on its probable cause.

Explosions are not uncommon in Burma. The military government that ruled the country for five decades normally blamed dissident groups or ethnic minority fighters for any such violence.

A new, army-backed government took control of the country in March.