Discharged from hospital: four-month-old boy resuscitated after Paraguayan inferno

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The Independent US

The owners and security guards of the shopping centre destroyed by fire in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Sunday have been charged with manslaughter as the death toll from the tragedy reached 464 yesterday.

The owners and security guards of the shopping centre destroyed by fire in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Sunday have been charged with manslaughter as the death toll from the tragedy reached 464 yesterday.

Juan Pio Paiva, the owner and president of Ycua Bolanos SA, his son Victor Paiva, and the security guards, allegedly locked shop doors during the fire at the three-story supermarket so that people could not leave without paying. Officials said they are also checking reports that an exploding gas canister could have started the fire.

But yesterday Enzo Bobadilla, the baby who was carried dead from the fire by a policeman, Juan Duarte while trying to revive him, was released from hospital showing few ill effects from his ordeal. Officer Duarte picked the four-month-old boy from the rubble and used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to save his life.

The manslaughter charges were filed with Judge Pedro Portillo at a federal court in the capital city, Asuncion, who took a statement from the defendants, Santiago Velazco, a spokesman for the National Police Department, said. He added that state prosecutors Teresa Sosa and Edgar Sanchez would be seeking a jail sentence of five-to-25 years for the men.

The prosecutors found evidence that victims were trapped when Mr Paiva allegedly ordered the doors to be locked to prevent looting, Mr Velazco said. Jose Duarte, a spokesman for President Nicanor Duarte, said yesterday: "One of the security guards told investigators that he received orders to lock the doors after the fire began."

But Javier Gonzalez, Juan Pio Paiva's lawyer, said his client wasn't present when the fire began and didn't order the doors to be locked, Mr Gonzalez, said yesterday.

Investigators from Argentina and Brazil are working at the shopping centre to determine whether the fire was caused by a gas leak in the food court.

Earlier yesterday, authorities said the death toll had reached 464, with more than 400 people still in hospital. More than 100 bodies remain unidentified and families had reported a further 130 people missing.

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