2 dead, 24 hurt in Philippine fireworks blaze

Rappler.com
2 dead, 24 hurt in Philippine fireworks blaze
(3rd UPDATE) The fire sets off a series of explosions at a strip of shops that overturned a truck and badly damaged 3 other vehicles on a major road in Bocaue

BOCAUE, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – A blaze ripped through a group of fireworks shops in the Philippines on Wednesday, October 12, killing two people and leaving 24 others injured, officials said.

The warehouse is located along the MacArthur Highway in Barangay Biñang 1st, near the town’s commercial area.

The fire set off a series of explosions at a strip of shops that overturned a truck and badly damaged 3 other vehicles on a major road in Bocaue, a town about 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Manila.

Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna said the victim is still being identified by authorities, adding that those who were affected by the explosion and fire will receive assistance from the local government.

Television footage showed charred cars that had been overturned by the force of explosions from the fire, and debris across the road.

Investigators are still probing the total worth of damage due to the fire.

After the blaze

“I was hurled to the back of the shop by the force of the explosion,” Mel Berbosa de Castro, 50.

“I saw a bloodied old man running away looking for his grandchild. Others were just running for their lives.”

Driver Ricky Salvador, 47, said he helped take a victim with a bloodied face to hospital. “It was like a war zone,” he said. “I saw shards of glass, nails flying up in the air. Firecrackers were flying all over.”

The town’s fire marshal, Senior Inspector Renan Batchine, put the updated toll at two dead, including a woman burnt beyond recognition and the body of local man unearthed from beneath the debris hours later.

Huge and sometimes deadly fires at sprawling slums, markets and factories are common in the Philippines, where safety regulations are poorly enforced.

In May last year 72 people were killed after a huge blaze tore through a footwear factory in the northern suburbs of Manila.

In one of the country’s deadliest-ever fires, 162 people were killed and 94 were injured at a Manila disco in 1996. – with reports from the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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