Island inferno: 5,400 homeless, 100 plucked from ashen waters



By the time the island inferno was over, at least a hundred people had to be picked up from waters thick with ash and debris.

Such was the magnitude of the blaze and the panic that engulfed parts of Isla Puting Bato, one of Manila’s shantytowns in Tondo facing Manila Bay.

Arson investigators are tracking down the owner of the shanty believed to be source of Friday’s fire that destroyed the slum community and left some 5,400 people homeless.

Manila fire marshall Supt. Felix Abrenica said they would question Arturo Salapudin, who lived in Block 1, Purok I of Isla Puting Bato in Tondo, to determine the cause of the blaze which required a response not only from firefighters but also from the Coast Guard.

Abrenica said at least five persons were injured, including a fireman, Senior Insp. Reggie Olmedo; resident Joel Bumaray; a 2-year-old child and two teenagers.

Investigation showed that the fire started from Salapudin’s home at around 4:10 p.m., spread across Purok I, and lasted till around 11 p.m.

Teams from the Philippine Coast Guard had to be called in after some residents jumped into the waters of Manila Bay or boarded makeshift rafts to escape the flames.

The PCG yesterday said it had rescued at least 100 people from the water.

The estimated 2,000 families displaced by the fire were temporarily sheltered at Del Pan Sports Complex, where Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and other city officials distributed relief goods yesterday.

Lim said a relocation site awaits the homeless families in Barrio Gayagaya in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan province. With a report from Philip Tubeza

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  • jr18496

    It’s More Fun In the Philippines!!! Extreme poverty! Result of corrupt congressmen, senators, mayors, even barangay captain. Choose the right leaders!!!

  • Ricardo

    Why these things happend to me”’ naalala ku tuloy yong bata sa youtube na nagsabi ng ganyan. WHY THESE THINGS HAPPEND TO ME. sa hirap ng buhay walang trabaho. walang makain tapos masunugan kapa. hindi ba napakasakit maranasan ito. well, well. so Sad talaga. mga kababayan. tumulong po tayo kahit papaano sating mga kababayang nasunugan. please help them. kahit ano lang po, kahit lumang damit. lumang mga kasangkapan. etc.

  • Belekoy

    While government officials, senators and congressmen and local politicians are counting their houses and the growth of their net worths, the poor people of Tondo — 5,400 of them – are cramped-ly- and crowded-ly living in Del Pan Sports complex due to damage done to their “mansions” by a huge fire. Not one from these wealthy people would come forward to offer something to alleviate the hardships being experienced by these lowly Filipinos. This is a glaring evidence of the disdain being shown by our government — which is run by these officials and politicians — to the poor folks. There is no love and no concern… 

    • Jose

      You miss the part about their being relocated?  And what have YOU donated?

      Oh, and I consider myself pretty well off, and I’ve no interest in donating to squatters.  I donate to legitimate charities that promote long term development.  I DON’T like my hard earned money going to people who are basically criminals.  I’ll bet good money that they’ll be back on that land in Tondo soon enough.

  • Simeon

    Pleased be reminded that pointing of dirty fingers should be avoided at this point and time.OKAY? If you know the culprit/s, why not go directly to the nearest POLICE STATION where you could lodge your COMPLAINT/S. Anong kinalaman ng politician/s, government official/s, senator/s, congressmen and local politician/s. Hala, doon ka magpaliwanag sa POLICE. At kung sinisipag ka pa punta ka na tuloy sa DSWD office, ABS-CBN, TV-5,GMA-7, Journalist/s, at magpa picture ka at sabihin mo FRONT PAGE ang mukha mo, sikat ka pa, hane! Magbitbit ka na rin ng bag of relief gaya ng ihi, buhangin, lason at mauna ka tumikim kasi puwede naman take home kahit hindi ka nasunugan eh! TAX FREE

    • RichmondReyes


  • murtson

    Squatters again!!! and now they are threatening to go back to the land they grabbed. These illegal settlers are really lawless!!! Because the government tolerates and protects lawlessness in the Philippines!!!

  • jtpa

    The reason why politicians do not want to get rid of squatter is because they can be a source of votes during elections.  So we can compare them to the white elephant in the room – a very big issue but no one wants to say something or do something.  Philippines is a hierarchal society where inequality is accepted so we should not be surprised that there is a huge disparity between the rich and the poor.  But the question is do we want this for our society – is this the society we will pass on to our kids?

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