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Nursing home fire death toll up to 11

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2003


HARTFORD, Conn. -- The death toll has risen to 11 in a nursing home blaze reportedly started by a patient who set her bed sheets on fire.

John Shack, who had been a resident at Greenwood Health Center, died at Hartford Hospital late Friday, two days after the fire. Nearly two dozen residents were injured and 10 remained hospitalized Saturday, with four in critical condition.

One man who died in the blaze, 76-year-old Angel Diaz, had gone back into the burning building after pushing Juan Rodriguez to safety in a wheelchair, the Hartford Courant reported Saturday.

"Mr. Diaz is a hero," said Rodriguez's daughter-in-law, Marisol Rodriguez. "He died a hero."

Juan Rodriguez was among the patients in critical condition.

Investigators interviewed a 23-year-old patient accused of starting the blaze, but had not determined whether the fire was intentionally set.

Orchestra to play season without pay

SAN ANTONIO -- The cash-strapped San Antonio Symphony didn't make its payroll, but its musicians took the stage anyway and promised to keep playing.

In the last two weeks, two other symphonies -- in Savannah, Ga., and Colorado Springs, Colo. -- canceled the remainder of their concert seasons because of budget shortfalls.

"Right now, I have my heart in my throat because (the musicians) are here," San Antonio Symphony board trustee Hope Andrade told the 1,400 patrons at Friday's performance.

"We must not let go of this symphony."

The 77 musicians, who had already taken a 20 percent pay cut, had met earlier in the day and agreed to honor the orchestra's performance schedule, violinist Craig Sorgi said.

Executive Director Steven Brosvik said the symphony needs $3-million to finish this season and next, and to pay off debt.

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