At least 3 dead as fire hits footwear factory in Valenzuela City
Three were confirmed dead in a fire at a factory of slippers on Tatalon Street in Barangay (village) Ugong, Valenzuela City, on Wednesday.
In a report by Radyo Inquirer, Supt. Crispulo Diaz of the Bureau of Fire Protection-National Capital Region (BFP-NCR) said the casualties, two males and a female, died of suffocation.
Two of the three confirmed casualties were identified as Heidi Pang and Tristan King Ong.
The fire on Kentex Manufacturing Inc. started at around 11:28 a.m. and reached fifth alarm six minutes later and Task Force Charlie at 12:11 p.m.
Task Force Charlie is the third alarm in a seven-step fire alert system. A task force status means all fire trucks in Metro Manila must help in combating the fire.
BFP NCR officer in charge Senior Supt. Sergio Soriano said the fire was declared under control at around 4:30 p.m.
Factory owner Veato Ang said he did not know how the fire started, calling it an “accident.”
He said one of the factory workers, a welder, was fixing a door which was near a blowing agent used in making slippers when the fire occurred.
“It just broke out and people started running,” Ang said, adding his factory had more than 200 employees.
Fire investigators were still determining the cause of the blaze.
Some 63 factory workers were reported missing by their families, according to the help desk set up the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The desk recorded 39 survivors.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian also arrived at the fire scene as the local government started bringing cadaver bags.
“At any given time, there are 40 to 50 workers trapped inside,” Gatchalian said.
Quoting the BFP, he said, “no one survived.”
Barangay Ugong desk officer Solomon Cabanez was quoted saying around 300 employees were trapped inside the burning Havanas sandals factory.
A security guard working in the factory, meanwhile, said around 200 employees were trapped.
As of posting, the BFP is still confirming the exact number of employees inside the burning factory. It is also verifying reports that the owner’s son was one of those who perished in the fire.
The report also said some of the trapped employees managed to text their family members to ask for help.
Diaz said fire rescuers were having difficulty extinguishing the blaze due to the thick black smoke coming out of the factory.
A worker named Ema, who was able to escape from the fire, said only those employees working on the first floor were able to vacate the factory, and those on the second floor were still trapped inside. With reports by Erwin Aguilon, Radyo Inquirer; Rima M. Granali, Philippine Daily Inquirer/DPL/RC
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.