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September 6, 1996
Web posted at: 11:25 p.m. EDT
fire

California fireworks factory blast kills one

RIALTO, California (CNN) -- A fireworks factory blew up Friday as workers unloaded shells, killing one employee and injuring another.

"We heard and we felt the shake that felt like an earthquake. It was just one explosion after another. The flames were quite high," said Ruth Johnston, who lives across the street from the Pyro Spectacular factory, the company that handled the fireworks for the opening of the Atlanta Olympic Games.

A side of the building was blown out by the blast, and the cause remains undetermined. Towers of smoke could be seen over the area about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.



Montana blaze spreads, threatening towns

BILLINGS, Montana (CNN) -- A wilderness fire spread overnight, burning 36 vacation homes and threatening more in the Custer National Forest, the Montana governor's office said Friday.

With winds gusts up to 50 mph and flames leaping up to 100 feet in the air, no containment was in sight, and the towns of Luther and Roscoe were threatened.

Gov. Marc Racicot planned to fly over the area where the 12- day-old Shepard Mountain fire was spreading.

"This fire began on federal land and was allowed to burn," said Rorie Hanrahan, press secretary for Racicot. "The governor questions whether this was the wisest policy when you have conditions like these."

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twa

TWA wreckage divers injured in boat mishap

EAST MORICHES, New York (CNN) -- Three New York City police divers investigating the crash of TWA Flight 800 suffered broken bones and other injuries Friday when a big wave struck their boat, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

All three divers suffered broken noses, cuts and bruises; one broke a leg and another broke an arm, Coast Guard Petty Officer Danny Thee said. He could not identify the divers.

Rough seas and high waves from Tropical Storm Fran continue to prevent investigators from diving to bring up wreckage and bodies, Thee said.

Flight 800 coverage Sights and sounds
The investigation
The victims
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Customs officers seize vessel, $117 million in cocaine

HOUSTON (CNN) -- U.S. Customs agents seized a Colombian- registered ship in the Port of Houston containing more than 2,600 pounds of cocaine with a street value of more than $117 million, officials said.

Customs inspectors Thursday cut open one of two 13-foot-long cylinders measuring 13 feet long and found more than a thousand pounds of cocaine. Friday morning, in front of reporters and TV cameras, agents used metal saws and blowtorches to open a second cylinder, where they found more than 1,200 pounds of packaged cocaine.

Customs inspectors made no arrests, and the freighter, Rio Atrato, was released to continue on to its final destination of Tampico, Mexico.

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Gigante arraigned on charges of racketeering and murder

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Alleged mob boss Vincent Gigante on Friday was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty on charges of racketeering and murder, after more than six years of legal wrangling on whether he was psychologically competent to stand trial.

Vincent "The Chin" Gigante is accused of being the head of the Genovese crime family and ordering the murders of mobsters up and down the East Coast - including the attempted assassination of jailed Gambino boss John Gotti.

For the last twenty years, Gigante has eluded authorities by claiming he was unfit to stand trial. His behavior included wandering around his neighborhood in a bathrobe, relieving himself in public, and using an umbrella in the shower. Federal prosecutors sucessfully argued that Gigante was conducting an elaborate ruse in order to evade prosecution.

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