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Philippines: 15 killed after fire breaks out in factory; firefighters delayed due to floods, wrong address

The firefighters arrived 14 minutes late as the heavy rains caused flooding and traffic jams. The rescue mission was further complicated when the firefighters were given a wrong address.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Manila Published on: August 31, 2023 13:54 IST
Firefighters at a Philippine factory in Quezon City, where
Image Source : AP Firefighters at a Philippine factory in Quezon City, where a fire claimed 15 lives.

At least 15 people were killed after a fire erupted on Thursday in a small apparel factory at a residential area in the city of Quezon. Firefighters were unable to arrive on time due to floods, heavy traffic and arriving at the wrong address, according to a fire protection official.

Most of the victims appear to be factory workers and carpenters who were taking a nap in their rooms when the fire suddenly broke out. The factory owner and his child were among the deceased, said Nahum Tarroza from the Bureau of Fire Protection.

According to Marcelo Ragundiaz, fire brigade chief for Barangay Tandang Sora district, the building was being used as a T-shirt printing warehouse and the blaze occurred in the middle of the factory, preventing most of the people inside from escaping, CNN reported.

Three people, including the homeowner, jumped from the second floor of the two-storey building in panic and sustained injuries. They have been transferred to a hospital. 

However, the firefighters arrived 14 minutes late as the heavy rains caused flooding and traffic jams. Tarroza further said that a wrong address was given to the firefighters. It took two hours for the firefighters to douse the blaze in Tandang Sora village.

An investigation has been launched in the incident. Quezon City government will investigate whether the homeowner violated building and fire codes, and if they had permits to use the property as a commercial building.

Village officials said that the factory housed combustible materials and textile used in making various apparel.

Earlier on Sunday, a similar incident was reported at Quezon City when at least ten people received burn injuries after a fire erupted in a residential area in Barangay Culiat. No casualties were reported in the incident.

The construction of buildings and residential enclaves in violation of safety standards and lax enforcement of safety regulations have caused deadly fires in the Philippines in the past, such as in 1996, when a fire at a nightclub killed 162 people in Quezon city. This was one of the biggest nightclub fires in the world in recent decades.

(with agency inputs)

ALSO READ | South Africa: At least 64 dead, over 40 injured in predawn fire in Johannesburg's building

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