At Least 2 Dead in Fire at Polish MTV Concert

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fire swept through a shipyard concert hall in the Baltic port city of Gdansk on Thursday night, killing at least two people and injuring 200 others gathered to watch a telecast of the MTV European Awards, officials said.

A shipyard spokesman said "many more" of the 700 ticket holders were feared dead, while unconfirmed reports on Polish television put the death toll at 16.

The fire broke out about 9 p.m., when an unidentified man carrying a bottle of gasoline jumped on the stage during a warm-up concert by the Polish band Golden Life, the spokesman said. It was not immediately clear how the gasoline ignited, but the fire quickly consumed the wooden hall and set off a stampede of panicked concert-goers, the spokesman said.

Authorities evacuated the area near the shipyard, best known as the birthplace of the Solidarity mass labor movement, because of fears the fire could spread to nearby chemical storage sites.

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