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LAGUNA, Philippines – The death toll in the firecracker factory explosion in Cabuyao City, Laguna, on Thursday, February 1, rose to four after two more victims succumbed while receiving treatment in a hospital.
The explosion, which started a fire in Purok 3, Barangay Bigaa, left five people injured, as reported by the police on Friday morning, February 2.
Two persons died on the spot on Thursday, while several others, including two minors, were seriously injured in the explosion and fire.
Brigadier General Kenneth Lucas, Philippine National Police-Calabarzon director, said the explosion killed John Ronald Gonzales Deduro and Marvin Lamela Ocom on the spot, while Ricardo Olic-Olic, Bebot Reymundodia died while being treated in two separate hospitals.
Tita Mye, a witness, told Rappler that the ground shook because the explosion was so powerful.
According to Cabuyao City Police Station, the explosion and resulting fire at the Aquino Lebrilla Fireworks in Barangay Bigaa was reported at around 4 pm. Authorities declared ‘fire out’ at 5:47 p.m.
Cabuyao Police Chief Lieutenant Colonel John Antonio said mishandling was the porbable cause of the explosion based on their initial assessment. Antonio added that they were still investigating the impact of the blast and the ensuing blaze on the nearby houses and properties to assess the extent of the damage.
“Alam naman natin sa paghandle ng chemical eh kinakailangan paggawa ng fireworks. Alam naman natin na itong chemicals na ito ay sensitive sa mga chemical reactions. Minsan hindi nakikita meron spark na napunta sa chemicals na ingredients, nag cause ng fire. Pwede din nabasa siya ng konti at natuyo, pag nainitan ng konti, mag start ng apoy,” Antonio told Rappler in an interview on Thursday.
(“We now that you need care when you handle chemicals in making fireworks. We know that this chemical is sensitive to reactions. Sometimes we can barely see the spark that goes to the chemical ingredients which can cause a fire. It can also be that it got a little wet and when it dried up and with a little heat, it will ignite.”)
Antonio said the first two fatalities who died on the spot were from Quezon Province and were workers at the fireworks factory. Those who were seriously injured, he said, were brought to the Cabuyao Hospital and Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
“Sa ngayon naidentify na yung mga namatay through relatives nila. Manggagawa sila as pagawaan ng paputok. Pero yung mga minors, anak ng mga manggagawa doon. Kapatid nung isang namatay kaya nakilala din yung kasama na namatay dahil kilala din nila,” he said.
(“So far, those who died have been identified through their relatives. They are workers at the fireworks factory. But the minors, they are children of the workers there. The sister of the one who died also identified the victim. They knew each other.”)
“Yung isang minor nasa Ospital ng Cabuyao, yung isa nasa PGH at yung seriously injured. Sa ngayon kinukuha natin ang exact age nila. Ang nangyari kasi pamilya yung nandoon so hindi pa natin natatanong yung mga victims. Kinoconsolidate pa natin,” he added.
(“One of the minors was brought to the Cabuyao Hospital, while the other minor and those who were seriously injured were brought to PGH. Right now we are trying to get their ages. What happened was they were a family there so we have not asked the victims. We are still consolidating.”)
Cabuyao City Mayor Dennis Hain, in a live video uploaded on Facebook, requested all private hospitals as well as drug stores to provide all the medical needs of the victims of the explosion. Immediate treatment should be given, especially to those who sustained burns, he said.
Hain said the city government will cover the cost as the Cabuyao Hospital could not provide complete treatment to all those who have sustained injuries.
“An unfortunate incident happened in Barangay Bigaa with the explosion at the fireworks factory with many reported casualties, injured people, and some even critical. It’s sad that there are children and elderly,” Hain said.
The mayor added: “Many people were brought to the Cabuyao Hospital but the hospital could not provide proper treatment because the case of the casualties were serious. All private hospitals in the town and private drug stores are requested to provide all the necessities to our casualties in the explosion. To those who sustained burns, in all hospitals, let’s give them proper treatment. Don’t worry about the cost. The city government will cover it.”
Schools in Bigaa were also ordered to open their premises as evacuation centers and asked residents near the fireworks factory to evacuate for their safety. – Rappler.com