31 people killed, dozens of workers are missing and feared dead after a fire hit a factory in a suburb of the Philippine capital of Manila on Wednesday, officials have said.
The fire razed a rubber slipper factory where at least 31 bodies have been recovered after the it was put under control five hours later, firefighters said.
More than 60 people are reportedly missing, and only seven people have been reported to have survived at this time. Fire officials said they saw "numerous bodies," many charred beyond recognition.
Mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela city north of Manila said the fire apparently was ignited from sparks from welding works at the building's main entrance door, and workers fled to the second floor where they were trapped. Local media claimed the fire was caused by welding embers coming in contact with chemicals used at the factory.
Survivors told local media that many of the workers were unable to escape because of the heavy smoke blocking the entrance of the factory.
Most of the victims had died of suffocation, they said, adding portions of the wall and roof on the second floor also collapsed and hit some of the workers.
According to the owner, about 200 to 300 people worked in the factory.
Gatchalian appealed to families of the missing to try to reach the workers in homes of other relatives. "There might still be a chance" that they had survived, he said.