San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Nurse Accused of Arson In San José Hospital Fire

On the one-year anniversary of the fire that devastated San José’s Calderón Guardia Hospital and took 19 lives, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday that a former nurse was formally accused of setting the hospital on fire, according to Judicial Branch spokeswoman Sandra Castro.

After a yearlong investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office is charging Juan Carlos Ledezma with arson and 19 counts of murder, Castro said.

He will now stand before a public audience of those affected by the fire so they can decide whether they wish to be plaintiffs in the case against him, according to a statement from the Judicial Branch.

The pre-dawn fire destroyed the hospital’s surgery, birthing, neonatal and gynecology units, among others (TT, July 15, 2005).

Also Wednesday, the Taiwanese government donated $15 million to the Social Security System (Caja) to rebuild the hospital.

At a ceremony attended by Caja director Eduardo Doryan and Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno, Taiwanese Ambassador Tzu-Dan Wu donated the funds, which will be used to build a seven-floor building to house obstetric, neonatal, gynecology, surgery and nutrition units as well as a blood lab and cafeteria, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.


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