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Indonesian police declare two suspects of deadly lighter factory fire

Christian Fernsby |
Indonesian police have declared the owner and the manager as suspects of the lighter factory fire that killed 30 people in north Sumatra province's city of Binjai.

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The factory's owner and manager, identified as "Burhan" and "Lismawarni," have been arrested and detained in Binjai police station at present for further investigation into the case.

"The two have undergone intensive interrogation process last night. They are responsible for the case. As they have been declared suspects, we detained them in our facility," said Binjai Police Station Spokesman Siswanto Ginting.

The two were charged with negligence that killed 30 people in Friday's fire, he said.

The fire was first seen at around 11:30 a.m. local time on Friday in the factory located in the residential compound of Sambirejo village. Bodies of 30 victims, including several children, were found in a workshop of the lighter factory.

Some workers brought their children to their workplace and the children were killed in the fire, said the spokesman.

Police have also questioned six witnesses, including factory workers surviving from the fire and residents around the factory who heard explosions prior to the fire, he said.

Citing the results of police investigation at the fire site, Siswanto said that a fatal mistake was found as the front door of the workshop was always locked by the factory owner during working hours. The only exit was the backdoor, which puts workers' lives at risks should emergency situation occurs in the factory, he said.

It was a serious violation of safety regulation as the factory also stores flammable supplies, said the spokesman.

Despite years of operation, the lighter factory is apparently illegal as it has no license issued by related offices. Police will coordinate with the provincial manpower office and related institutions to take further investigation into the case, he added.

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