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Woman dies in
U.K. gay sauna fire

Woman dies in
U.K. gay sauna fire

A woman was killed early Friday in a fire of suspicious origin at a gay sauna in Leeds, England, prompting a major investigation by West Yorkshire police, the Yorkshire Post reported. Police and firefighters were called to the Spartan Mantalk Sauna in Bexley Mount at 3:45 a.m. Friday and rescued a woman, who was later confirmed dead. She was apparently the only person in the building.

Local newsagent Vishav Prabhakar said the sauna was the target of earlier attacks and a robbery. He said he thought the business had about 40 customers a day and was targeted by armed robbers several years ago because of the amount of money made there.

Another neighbor described being awakened by many loud bangs at 2:45 a.m. "I heard the noise when it was started. I heard the bangs and heard a car screeching off. I think they kicked the door in. I thought it was someone breaking into a car, and I went back to bed," he said. "Next thing I heard, someone was banging on the door, and I looked out of my window and could see the house opposite was all lit up with flames. It was really going at that point."

Prabhakar told the Leeds Times that he knew the woman who worked there but was positive that nobody lived in the building.

According to Internet listings, Spartan Mantalk is open 24 hours a day. Its facilities are said to include a sauna box steam cabin and a "Jacuzzi public rest room."

Head detective Bill Shackleton of the West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Inquiry said the fire appears to be of suspicious origin, although no incendiary devices have been found.

The victim remained unidentified Friday morning. (Hassan Mirza, Gay.com/U.K.)

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