New Year fire hits 1,000 homes in Manila

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Fire hit at least 1,000 homes in the Philippines' capital city on Friday morning, January 1, affecting around 3,000 families in Manila hours after they greeted the New Year. 

Officials said the fire injured 4 people, their ages ranging from 18 to 39. It also damaged property worth P10 million* ($213,272).

At the same time, a 65-year-old female village official died due to heart attack, Manila's lead disaster official said. 

This happened in Barangays 155 and 160 in Dagupan Extension, Tondo, Manila, according to Johnny Yu, officer-in-charge of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

The fire affected a slum area, affecting houses made of light construction materials.

The spokesman of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Superintendent Renato Marcial, said fire out was declared at 9:59 am on Friday.

Blamed on firecrackers

In a phone interview with Rappler, Marcial said firecrackers called kwitis or rockets likely started the fire. He said this is based on initial reports.

He also described affected families as "displaced" and not necessarily homeless.

The affected residents are being transferred to the barangay covered courts for temporary shelter.

Yu said they are also waiting for the Manila Social Welfare Department to confirm it is sending aid. The social welfare department is expected to tally the affected families.

Nationwide, Marcial said the BFP has recorded at least 9 fire-related incidents. In an interview with dzMM, he said 3 of these happened in Metro Manila.

Marcial appealed to Filipinos on Friday not to light firecrackers anymore. – Rappler.com

*$1 = P46.88

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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