31 bodies recovered from factory gutted by fire in Valenzuela City
Thirty-one bodies have been recovered from the slipper factory of Kentex Manufacturing Inc. in Valenzuela City, as of Wednesday evening, after it was gutted by fire in the morning.
Families and relatives of factory workers waited outside the factory hoping their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and lovers would come out of the factory alive.
But a quarter before 5 p.m., Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian, quoting the Bureau of Fire, said, “No one survived inside the factory.”
As of 5 p.m., 65 missing individuals were reported missing by their families based on the list from the city’s help desk.
“We are still hoping that from the 65, some were able to escape,” Gatchalian said.
Senior Supt. Sergio Soriano, director of the Bureau of Fire Protection in the National Capital Region, said three people were confirmed dead.
The two were identified as Tristan King Ong and Heidi Pang, part-owners of the corporation while the third casualty has not yet been identified.
As of past 6 p.m., 31 bodies have been found.
They were all found on the staircase, probably attempting to go down and escape, Soriano said.
The fire was reportedly ignited by sparks from the front door welding, which blended with a chemical, a blowing agent used in making slippers, investigators said.
A mother was seen rushing toward the entrance of the factory, early afternoon, to ask the firemen to save her 27-year-old daughter Mary Ann Icuspit.
“My daughter’s coworker sent a text message that they’re trapped on the second floor,” Janie Basinang shouted while running toward Kentex two hours after the fire broke out at 11:28 a.m.
But firefighters prevented her from going inside as fire continued to raze the slippers factory and black smoke shrouded the front door believed to be the origin of the fire.
“I’m not sure if my daughter is one of them but I’m hoping,” Basinang said, trying to hold back tears.
Soriano said the building had a fire exit, and in fact, 10 managed to escape through the staircase.
The 3,000 square-meter, two-story building, which was as large as a town mall, had two main entrances.
Soriano said the factory workers were trapped because the fire originated from the front door and it spread rapidly, reaching fifth alarm in six minutes and Task Force Charlie at 12:11.
Those on the first floor managed to escape through the other door.
Felix Parales, 55, one of the survivors, said it happened so fast.
“Someone shouted there’s fire and we started to run,” Parales said.
“Some tried to extinguish the fire to save those on the second floor but the fire spread fast,” he added. SM
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.