After a month-long emphasis of fire prevention campaigns last March, incidents seem to be just inevitable. Fire, being considered as one of the most devastating calamities, has just consumed another establishment in the Philippines.
Fire fighters went through a tough task of putting off the fire caused by the debris of welding works in the entrance door of a Rubber Slipper Factory in Sitio Gitna, Barangay Ugong Valenzuela City, Philippines last Wednesday, May 13, 2015.
According to Senior Supt. Wilberto Nilo, chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Camanava, the burning rubber and other flammable materials caused the extreme heat and smoke which made it harder for the fire fighters to enter the second level of the said building where numerous workers, including the niece of the factory owner, were found dead and “charred beyond recognition”, as described by District Fire Marshall Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu. Tiu was the first to get into the second floor.
Although Mayor Rex Gatchalian of Valenzuela City North of Manila and other officials initially expressed their hope that some workers, other than the 7 reported survivors and the 3 declared dead, might have escaped when the fire had just started, grief still prevailed when no one appeared to confirm the survival of anyone. Thus, after the fire was put under control, which took more than 5 hours, fire officials declared that no one in the building has survived. This devastating news caused emotional breakdown of the victims’ relatives who were outside the burnt building waiting for updates then.
In an interview in the dzMM, Gatchalian announced a total number of 39 survivors and 63 casualties, including the above-mentioned niece of the owner and three who died out of suffocation.
Authorities are currently conducting further investigations regarding the said incident. Moreover, the injured workers and the families of the victims were assured of help from the city government. This was spearheaded by the Valenzuela City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) by setting-up help desks.