Fire in Philippines capital kills 9 including two children

Fire in Philippines’s most populous city kills 9, destroys homes made of light material

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Workers look as police carry a body bag containing a charred remains of a worker inside a gutted slipper factory in Metro Manila in the Philippines May 14, 2015

A fire in the Philippines’ most populous city has killed at least nine people -- including two children -- and gutted through dozens of houses.

Those killed were trapped at dawn Friday in the second floor of a house in Quezon City, the biggest city in Metro Manila, according to local radio.

Radio station DzMM reported that firefighters recovered the remains of nine people from at least three families, including a 2-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy.

Fire Supt. Jesus Fernandez, the city’s fire chief, said they believe the fire was caused by a short circuit.

“The fire spread rapidly. The houses in the area are made of light materials… most of them shanties,” The Manila Bulletin quoted him as saying.

The flames ripped through 50 houses, affecting around 150 families.

Mark Mondia, another fire official, said another victim was receiving treatment in hospital for third degree burns, DZMM reported.

The station also cited investigators as saying that many residents in the residential district were using illegal power connections.

Deadly fires are common in the Philippines, where fire safety regulations are not strictly observed, even by businesses and factories.

On Oct. 31, 15 people -- live-in vendors stuck inside their shops -- were killed when a fire broke out at a waterfront market in Zamboanga City, a majority Christian city in the Muslim south.

In May, 72 people were killed when a fire broke out at a footwear factory in the Manila suburb of Valenzuela City.

The blaze was the second deadliest in the country’s recent history, after a fire at a nightclub in Quezon City on March 17, 1996 left 162 people dead.

On Nov. 20 last year, nine men -- seven former safety officials and two businessmen -- were sentenced to between six and 10 years in jail on charges relating to the Ozone Disco Club accident.

An estimated 400 people, mostly high school and college students celebrating the end of the academic year, were inside the building when the fire broke out. Many of the blackened bodies were found piled waist-high in a corridor leading to the only exit.

The high death toll was attributed to the building’s structural faults and lack of fire safety measures at the disco, which had passed city inspections.