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Verdicts given in firemen’s deaths case

Two of the five people who faced homicide charges in the worst fire-fighting disaster in Switzerland have received 20-month suspended sentences.

Seven firemen died in 2004 when a parking garage in Gretzenbach, northwestern Switzerland, collapsed on top of them as they fought to put out a fire.

The other three defendants were acquitted of the charges, the Olten-Gösgen court announced on Tuesday.

Solothurn’s public prosecutor had charged five people involved in building the garage with negligent homicide, negligent bodily injury and negligently causing the collapse. The two men who received the sentences were brothers and the property developers.

During the trial it was alleged that an “averagely trained and qualified construction expert” could have predicted the collapse.

The case had been closed after time limits expired for pursuing the matter, but the canton’s highest court reopened it after upholding portions of a complaint by relatives of the victims.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR