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Thursday, June 27 2019 @ 10:21 AM UTC

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Fire On A Metro Bus Causes Panic - Six Injured

Safety & SecurityPanic spread in a Metro bus when passengers saw it filling with smoke, resulting in five people injured, of which two are babies and three adults. (more)

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When Can You Legally Conduct A "Citizen's Arrest" in Panama?

Safety & SecurityBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - An interesting question arose on Wednesday during the meeting of the Playa Community regarding what we gringos would know as a "citizen's arrest." I investigated the issue and the answer was somewhat surprising.

The question arose - "When can I make a citizen's arrest in Panama? Can I do it at all? Is it even legal? Or, if I try to make a citizen's arrest, will the cops haul me away instead?" Good question. At the time and right off the top of my head I didn't have the answer, based on what is written in Panamanian law. I knew what I would do in that situation just based on my gut. Let's say I find someone in the living room of my home and he's about to try to steal my laptop computer. I would hold that person (one way or the other), notify the police, and wait for them to arrive to haul the criminal away. But, I didn't know the underlying law. Is that even legal? Good question...

The short answer is - yes. Article 21 of the Panamanian Constitution says "any delinquent who is surprised 'in fragranti' can be apprehended by any person, and should be immediately turned over to the authorities." There are then three Articles in the Penal Code which further define the meaning of the "flagrant" commission of a crime - specifically Articles 2148, 2149, and 2150. Basically, if you catch someone in the act of committing a crime "red handed" then you are fully within your rights to hold that person - effectively executing what we would know as a "citizen's arrest" - until the police officers arrive and put him in cuffs.

Thought you would like to know. Thanks to Jim Rizik and Carlos Sannad for following up on this issue. They gave me the basics, and then I confirmed what they already had with my own personal criminal lawyer, who is a walking dictionary of the Panamanian criminal code. He immediately spouted this stuff from memory, but then went back, looked it up, and sent me the sources in law and the constitution.

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Senior Citizens On A Road Trip Escape Burning Bus

Safety & SecurityA bus from the Santiago - Atalaya route caught fire in Via Tocumen at about 5 am today, Thursday.

About 30 people (the driver and passengers) made ​​it out in time, after one of the front wheels of the bus began to burn.

The passengers, all members of an association of senior citizens, who had organized an excursion to the Darien, managed to exit the bus in the midst of despair.

The bus driver tried to extinguish the fire using a fire extinguisher, but the flames continued to spread little by little.

Firefighters responded to the emergency and brought the fire under control, a situation that caused a traffic jam in the area of the company ENSA.

No one was injured and passengers waited for assistance from another bus to continue their journey. (Critica)

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"Guns For Food & Medicine" Take Weapons Off The Streets

Safety & SecurityDozens of firearms of different calibers and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, even some from the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, were delivered on Thursday to the authorities in exchange for coupons for food and medicine in an area in the Western part of the province of Panama that has been ridden by crime.

Women and men came quietly to a point installed by the Government of Panama next to a supermarket in Arraiján, 30 kilometers to the west of Panama City, and delivered weapons to members of the National Police in a plan that has been running for several years in some of the areas which are the most insecure in the metropolitan area, and in later versions included the exchange of weapons for medicines.

"The police think, according to their statistics, the program has a positive effect in terms of reducing crime," said the Press Secretary of the office of the Governor of the Province of Panama, Roberto Tejeira.

A woman who identified herself only as Margarita, 60, said she exchanged an old revolver her family acquired after the invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989 that ousted dictator Manuel Noriega regime, and are part of the many weapons left in the streets after the military action.

"The gun was already rather old, but I got a $75 coupon," said the woman. "We had it to defend ourselves, but there are many guns on the streets that are used to steal and kill," she added.

Those who participated in the exchange were not asked their identity nor were they questioned about the origin of the weapons, which will then be destroyed.

This is the second time that the program has taken place in Arraiján, one of the population centers to the West of the capital where there have been increasing rates of violence and crime by gangs and drug traffickers in recent years.

Authorities say hit men are trained in this area who are used by gangs of drug traffickers.

According to Tejeira, about 1,500 weapons and more than 110,000 rounds of ammunition have been destroyed since the program was implemented ten years ago and was originally named "Yes to peace, not weapons."

After Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, Panama is the country with the highest per capita murder rate in Central America - 18 per 100,000 - security officials said. (Estrella)

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Fire (Possibly Fatal) Leaves About 100 Homeless in Curundu

Safety & SecurityIs the victim a human or an animal? That's what will determine the results of the autopsy to be performed on the remains found yesterday, Sunday, in the rubble of the barracks that were consumed in a fire on Frangipani Avenue, in the village Curundú.

A raging fire broke out at approximately 10:00 am under circumstances that are being investigated by experts from the Fire Department of Panama.

Results? More than 30 homeless families (about 100 people), the disappearance of a man, and a perimeter of destruction.

Story - According to reports offered between those who were involved in the emergency, apparently all started at 10:30 am, while many of the inhabitants of the barracks known as "Patio Roché" slept.

Presumably the fire started in Room 27 and in seconds, the tongues of fire took over the airspace of the National Avenue, near Curundú, and Frangipani Avenue.

The fire alarm set in motion some 60 units of the Fire Department of Panama from the stations in Amador, Carrasquilla and Balboa, who faced the fierce fire, while the occupants of the building saw their belongings being charred by the fire.

Some were able to save a few things, but most didn't have time to save anything.

In the place there were unofficial reports of the disappearance of a man in his 30s, who at press time still had not been located.

Homeless - The reports have not been unified on the exact number of people who have been harmed, but an estimated 36 families, which would add a total of 100 people have been left without a bed to sleep in and nothing to wear.

Find - When the fire was controlled, firefighters proceeded to clean up the debris and found the remains of something that was once living, but they could not identify the species, given the level of incineration presented.

In response, the authorities are expected to identify the body found and determine if it is human or animal.

Authorities - Authorities from the Ministry of Housing and Land Management (MIVIOT) the Mayor of Panama, the National System of Civil Protection and Emergency Single System 911 all responded to the scene. (Critica)

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Firemen Extinguish Blaze At Chicken Processing Plant

Safety & SecurityIt took firemen from the Juan Diaz station about an hour to smother a small fire in a chicken processing plant belonging to the company Toledano in Rana de Oro, Pedregal.

The head of the Department of Fire Investigation said the flames were confined to the area where the chicken parts are cut up, and there were no reports of any of the workers being injured or affected.

He said that all were successfully evacuated.

The firemen cut a hole in one of the fences at the end of the factory to be able to enter the affected area more quickly. (TVN)

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Grass Fires Causing Problems For Fire Department

Safety & SecurityThe intense summer has increased the number of calls for firefighters in the Western part of the province of Panama, who have to respond to several reports of burning grasslands every day.

According to a report from the fire department, yesterday Thursday they responded to 19 grass fire calls between La Chorrera to Chame.

Firefighters have asked the community to use caution in such cases, and also avoid throwing burning cigarettes, cans and glass, because the heat can cause fire.

Meanwhile, residents of several communities say every year in the dry season they have to deal with these situations.

The concern of the residents is that the smoke can affect infants and those with respiratory diseases. (TVN)

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Hospital Reopening After Chemical Spill Cleanup

Safety & SecurityThe emergency room of the Susana Jones hospital has been reopened, now that the cleaning staff has determined there are no chemical spills in this area.

The medical staff is attending patients without any problem.

Later a new inspection will be made of the ​​radiology area.

The Radiology Department will remain closed because there is a higher concentration of the chemical which was spilled in this area.

It also recommended to the hospital authorities that they should conduct a cleaning in the area of ​​radiology, in order to try to resume services later in the afternoon today. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Yesterday the hospital was evacuated as a result of this chemical spill. I still have not seen any report indicating what (exactly) was spilled.

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Roof Collapses In Parking Area On Four Cars

Safety & SecurityBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The roof over a parking area gave way this afternoon, and came crashing down on the hoods of four cars that were parked underneath.

This occurred in Bethania, across the street from the Lung Fung restaurant.



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Fire Consumes Cardboard Boxes At Moving Company

Safety & SecurityA fire occurred yesterday afternoon in one of the open galleries of a warehouse where there was a large number of cardboard boxes, as well as wood, rags, and paper.

The fire occurred near Avenue Villalaz Ascanio in Curundú.

The company Canal Mover and Logistic Corporation, which is a residential moving service, had hundreds of these items located in their open metal warehouse which the flames consumed in minutes.

Orlando Villarreal, of the Fire Department of Panama, said in order to control the fire, and due to the distance from a working fire hydrant, they used two tanker trucks, a ladder truck, two ambulances, and 50 firemen from the Balboa and Ricardo Arango fire stations.

Villarreal added that when a fire occurs people should dial 103 to report the fire and they should not try to smother the flames themselves, because this is dangerous and they could be risking their lives.

When the fire broke out, two police officers were patrolling the area on a motorcycle, and they immediately notified the fire department.

In this event there were no injuries or affected.

Mario Ramirez of the Division of Fire Investigation, said the causes of the fire are unknown. He said they will be making the necessary investigations. (Siglo)

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Gas Station On Fire in Rio Abajo...

Safety & SecurityA taxi crashed into a gas station in Rio Abajo, specifically in the area known as "El Balboa", and caused one of the fuel dispensers to catch fire endangering the lives of workers and people who were close to the place.

Preliminary information indicates that after crashing, the taxi sped away.

Firemen responded to the scene to try to extinguish the fire. It was learned that the people who were on the premises nearby were evacuated for fear of an explosion. (Estrella)

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Grass Fires Increase Costs For Fire Department

Safety & SecurityThe Fire Department of Panama sees the increase in grass fires so far this year with great concern.

This situation according to Captain Angel Delgado of the Fire Department, is not only a danger to health and the environment, but also risks and costs of equipment and personnel ranging from $300 to $500 per hour for each incident.

In this sense, Delgado said that only in the month of January a total of 790 grass fires have been extinguished in the different regions and in Panama City, as well as three forest fires in the areas of La Yeguada in the province of Veraguas, one in Boquete, and another in Herrera in the area of Montuoso, while in the region of Macaracas there is still a situation that has to be investigated.

The district of La Chorrera tops the list of grass fires with 186 cases, followed with 151 in the province of Cocle, where, according to Delgado, the areas of Aguadulce and Penonomé are being affected.

Panama center reported 130 cases, while there were 119 in David and another 58 in Veraguas.

For this situation they have already issued a nationwide alert in all areas, within which the full time guard has been activated, as well as volunteers and administrators.

According to Delgado the investigations show these fires have been caused by waste matches, gasoline, and even alcohol, so evidence indicates the hand of man is behind them.

These fires bring consequences that affect protected areas and contribute to environmental pollution, and for an increase in asthma and other respiratory allergies.

Last year a total of 4,611 cases of grass fires were reported, as well as 14 forest fires, said the official. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: 'Tis the season. Every year during dry season the grass burns off...

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Car Consumed By Fire On San Miguelito Bridge

Safety & SecurityA car caught fire at 11:00 am on the rise to the bridge in San Miguelito headed towards Panama City.

It is presumed that first an explosion occurred, according to early reports that have been sent through the social networks.

The car is right in the middle of the road leading to the center of Panama City, so it has caused a large traffic jam.

The car, a red sedan, was consumed in its entirety.

At the moment the fate of the driver is unknown. (Mi Diario)

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Overheating Fan Motor Caused Pueblo Nuevo Fire

Safety & SecurityThe fire that occurred on Calle 16 in Pueblo Nuevo last week was caused by the overheating motor of an old electric fan that was left running, according to Irán Ponce, the head of the Department of Fire Investigation of the Fire Department of Panama.

The fire destroyed 12 rooms for rent, where 34 people lived.

Ponce said, regarding the case of Santa Ana, where flames consumed 10 big houses and affected 289 people, they are still investigating the causes of the fire.

So far in 2013 there have already been four big fires.

A senior citizen was killed in one of them. (Siglo)

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Firemen and Management Reach Agreement on Pay and Promotions

Safety & SecurityThe agreements reached between the members of the "permanent guard" of the fire department of Panama and the government will start to be implemented.

Their promotions will start to take effect immediately, said Pablo Tuñón, the Chief of the Fire Department.

Some of the firefighters will have to attend the Academy for training in order to be eligible to receive their promotions.

Tuñón also explained the breakdown of the salary increase of $100 (per month), which will take effect gradually.

The first payment will be $25 in the first half of March, another $25 will apply from the first half of October, completing the first $50. In January 2014, the increase will be completed.

The firefighters and the authorities had established a 30 day deadline to resolve these issues. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: To put this whole problem with the firemen in a nutshell - the government had already agreed to give them raises and promotions, based on length of service. However the government then failed to budget the money necessary to actually pay for those raises and promotions. The firemen started to protest and make noise, the dialog started, and now they have reached an agreement. Unfortunately, in Panama very often it seems like you can't get anything done until you're closing a street somewhere, and getting your face on the morning news to bitch about (whatever).

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Man Killed In Diablo Heights Fire

Safety & SecurityA man died early this morning when his house caught fire.

Firefighters rushed to the house in Diablo Heights, in the reverted areas, to start the work of extinguishing the fire, but much of the building had been consumed by flames.

Amid the operation Fire Department located the body of a dead man who had been burned in one of the rooms of the house.

Unofficial data indicates that neighbors heard an explosion as a result of flammable products that were in the residence.

The Security Office of the Fire Department of Panama will initiate investigations to determine the causes of this incident. (Critica)

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Public Ministry Investigating Pueblo Nuevo Fire

Safety & SecurityOfficials from the Public Ministry and the Office of Fire Safety will investigate the cause of the fire that occurred Thursday at Calle 15 in Pueblo Nuevo.

The fire consumed an old wooden building called "Salomón" by local residents, leaving 12 families and a total of 34 people homeless, according to the preliminary report. The fire came 24 hours after another fire consumed 10 buildings in the village of Santa Ana, leaving 289 homeless.

There has been speculation about the possible causes of the fire in Pueblo Nuevo, among which raises the possibility that it might have been caused by a short circuit. The owner of the room where the fire started was not there when the incident occurred.

The area has been cordoned off by the Police, but some residents fainted while trying to retrieve their belongings.

It was reported that those affected will be relocated to the Community Board of Pueblo Nuevo, in pensions and hotels located nearby.

The director of the National Assistance Program, Rafael Guardia, went to the scene and announced the creation of a socio-economic study of the victims.

Guardia said the PAN, the Mayor of Panama and the Ministry of Housing and Land Management is responsible for providing the necessary assistance to the victims with hot food, and then when they are relocated, to give them material assistance.

Guardia said the Ministry of Housing and Land Management will determine if the building will be rebuilt. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: It seems like there might have been some illegal electrical connections to that building. The local residents all seemed to know it was caused by a short circuit.

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Video Of Fire in Pueblo Nuevo This Morning

Safety & SecurityBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Here's the the video posted by Telemetro channel 13 of the fire that occurred this morning in the area of Pueblo Nuevo.

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There Is A Firearm in 15% of Panamanian Homes

Safety & SecurityThere is a firearm in 135,061 households in Panama, according to a recent survey.

The biweekly CID Gallup poll for 'The People Speak' addressed a review of the Panamanians on safety.

According to the Census of Population and Housing, 2010, in Panama there are 900,413 homes.

In the study, 15% stated that a member of their household owns a firearm. In the houses of people who have been victims of theft (23.2%) is where most confess that there are firearms.

Another finding of the study is that 8% of Panamanians (184,000 people) own a firearm. Men (11.4%), those with secondary education (9.3%), those over 40 years (8.9%) and metropolitan residents (8.7%) are the most say owning a gun.

Although 8% said they own some type of firearm, a higher percentage, 34% of Panamanians (782,000 people), confessed to having used one at some point in their lives.

Young adults (50.4%), those who have been a victim of theft (47%) and men (39.5%) are those that have had the experience of shooting a gun. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Wow, is this bad reporting. They conducted a survey with a relatively small sample (specific number not revealed) then they extrapolated the numbers against the whole to come up with the large country wide figures. I guess my problem is that they didn't adequately explain what they were doing, and how they arrived at the numbers. So, if they did a survey of 2,000 people and 15% said they own a firearm, fine. But to then extrapolate that out to say there are guns in 135,061 homes is probably a stretch. I just like it when people - and especially reporters - are precise when using numbers as facts and figures.

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Fire In Mañanitas This Morning

Safety & SecurityThere was a fire this morning in a commercial property located in front of the Plaza las Americas in Mañanitas.

This property was used to fabricate chairs and furniture for the Ministry of Education.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

Firemen responded to the scene to extinguish the blaze, and are currently conducting the first investigations to determine the cause of the fire. (Dia a Dia)

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Construction Worker Falls 13 Floors To Death

Safety & SecurityA worker died yesterday when he fell from the 13th floor of a building under construction in Punta Pacifica.

Aristarco Salazar, 25 years old, only had four days working as an assistant on the Grand Tower project.

According to Frenadeso, he had four young children.

Manuelin Urrieta, the area manager for SUNTRACS, called upon his peers to make use of safely equipment to prevent further mishaps.

Salazar becomes the third construction worker who has died so far this year. (Mi Diario)

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Gas Leak Causes House Fire in Cerro Viento

Safety & SecurityA gas tank exploded Wednesday at a residence in Cerro Viento so Fire Department units arrived.

Black smoke was coming out of the house, which caused fear in many locals.

How did it happen? The owner of the house smelled the gas leak, and when she went to turn it off it exploded in her face, so she and her daughter ran out and the house caught fire.

The fire spread so fast that when her husband arrived he had no chance of saving anything, because the fire spread to the back of the house burning all the family belongings.

Firefighters arrived and the fire was so big they requested another truck to help them control and extinguish the fire. None was hurt, only the woman of the house had some smoke inhalation, but she will be alright. (Estrella)

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Gasoline Tanker Catches Fire After Colliding With Utility Pole in Penonomé

Safety & SecurityAbout 10:50 am, firefighters from the sectors of Penonomé, Aguadulce and Natá are trying to douse the flames of an articulated truck loaded with gasoline, that caught fire after hitting a utility pole in the area of ​​Rio Grande, in Penonomé.

The truck driver was seriously injured and burned.

Locals who heard the noise caused by the accident, approached the vehicle, providing help.

The incident took place on the main road leading to the community of La Candelaria. (Telemetro)



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The Differences Between Police Control and Checkpoints Explained

Safety & SecurityThe Deputy Commissioner of the National Police, Julio Lasso, explained on the Telemetro morning news the differences between a police checkpoint and a control point, measures applied by the police in the streets for vigilance, but many criminals take advantage of these situations and use tools similar to those who work for public safety, to create false checkpoints in order to steal.

Lasso said a checkpoint will be comprised of eight or more police officers, a vehicle, and these are usually established in visible places, or on major thoroughfares.

These are installed especially when there is a bank robbery for example, an escape from prison, or when there is a report of drug or arms trafficking.

Meanwhile a control point might be located at the entrance of a neighborhood or a shopping center, and is comprised of two to four officers, who will be wearing their bullet proof vests, and they will be using traffic cones, the same as in checkpoints.

Lasso said the driver may cordially request the name or identification of the police officers who are working there.

He explained that the officers of the National Police have several uniforms they might be using, depending on specialty. Some are green and others are blue, but each police officer will have their name either embroidered or on an identification plate.

Editor's Comment: Over the weekend two men dressed as police officers tried to kidnap a journalist in the area of El Carmen in Panama City. In response there has been a public relations effort to educate people on how to tell the difference between real and fake police officers. In the case of the attempted kidnapping, the potential victim recognized that they were fake and managed to escape.

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Officials Inspecting Panama Metro Subway Accident Work Site

Safety & SecurityStaff from the Public Ministry went this Monday, 14 January 2013, to the work site of the new Panama Metro subway system, specifically to the area where the Santo Tomas subway station is being built, where last Friday, 11 January, there was an accident which claimed the life of one worker and which left six others injured.

They were assisted by staff from the Social Security Fund to conduct the inspection, and to therefore ensure that the workers can continue to work safely.

Meanwhile, the workers have said they will not go back to work until they can be assured that their lives are not in danger. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: On Friday a high pressure air hose exploded, killing one and injuring six.

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Two Injured In Underground Metro (Subway) Construction Accident

Safety & SecurityTwo people were injured in a construction accident this afternoon.

The men who were working on Line 1 of the new Panama Metro (subway) system were injured when an air line exploded between Calle 29 and Avenida Justo Arosemena.

A source in the fire department confirmed that the injured people have already been attended to. (Critica)

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Two Christmas Eve Fatalities in Panama

Safety & SecurityAt least two people died in Panama on Christmas Eve said sources in the National Police and fire department.

According to reports, a man was shot dead in the district of San Miguelito, near the northern outskirts of the capital, in a discussion between a group of people who were drinking liquor.

In another development, the lawyer Isaac Ladron de Guevara died asphyxiated by the smoke in a fire in his residence located in the town of La Chorrera, in western Panama province, said sources in the fire department.

The victim's wife, Dominga Perez, was admitted to a hospital because she suffered from suffocation by smoke inhalation during the fire, which apparently was caused by a candle that came into contact with flammable material in the residence.

So far police authorities have reported no traffic fatalities from accidents, and they only reported that drivers have been fined for driving while intoxicated, or for leaving their cars parked illegally which were towed away. (Critica)

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Car Consumed By Flames

Safety & SecurityA sedan caught fire this afternoon on the road from La Villa - Las Tablas in the province of Los Santos, with no injuries. Firemen responded to the call but the flames quickly consumed the entire burning vehicle. It was reported that two people managed to get out of the car, miraculously saving their lives. For now, no one knows why the fire started, however firemen are investigating. Also, police officers responded to the scene to control vehicular traffic. (TVN)

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Apartment Fire in Curundú

Safety & SecurityThere was an apartment fire on the 10th floor of the green apartment building in Curundú. Two fire trucks responded to extinguish the blaze. (Telemetro)

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A Man's Body Was Found On Rodman

Safety & SecurityThe body of a man was found on the banks of the Panama Canal, on Monday.

The body was identified as Tomás Alfred Fairley, 48, who allegedly was the driver of the Kia car that crashed on Friday, in which four people were killed, at Control 2 between Panama and Arraiján.

The body was found floating on the beaches near the former Rodman US military base yesterday, at noon.

Workers at a nearby business saw the buzzards circling in the area and alerted authorities who immediately moved to the site, where they found the body.

Police said it could be the person who was traveling inside of the car that crashed because the only survivor of the accident said there were six people in the car.

An aide to the Auxiliary Prosecutor explained that on the day of the accident, the current in the stream was so strong it could have dragged the body of the man several miles, and it could be the man who was involved in the car accident, which occurred ten meters from the Pan American highway, near Loma Cová.

SINAPROC officials and firefighters from Arraiján had to tie themselves in with cables to keep from being dragged away by the force of the current toward the mangroves.

The body found yesterday could have come to this site through the streams of the place.

In that accident died Nayely Sanchez, age 7, her mother Noris Marlenis de Sanchez, Kathiuska Franklyn and an adult male, who had no identification when he was pulled from the water.

At that time it was reported that the driver of the car was gone, and according to early indications, it could be the person found by the Auxiliary Prosecutor in Rodman. (Critica)

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