MANILA – Without a release of the official casualty count yet, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) estimated that about 31 were killed in a factory fire in Valenzuela City on Wednesday.
Authorities still have to scour the entire building to confirm and announce the official death toll. As of now, 3 persons were confirmed killed due to suffocation. 63 other workers were reportedly unaccounted for. The number was taken from families who reported to have a kin who worked that day.
Mayor Rex Gatchalian himself delivered the bad news to the families of the 63 factory workers. The families and relatives of the workers were gathered outside the fire-engulfed building, crying and hoping that their loved ones survived.
“Kung may chance na nakalabas sila at pumunta sa bahay ng mga kamag-anak ‘nyo, tawagan ‘nyo. Baka may chance na pumunta sila ibang lugar. Please do it now. Kausap ko ang BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection). Lahat ng nasa loob ng building, walang nabuhay,” Gatchalian said.
(If there is still a chance that they were able to go out [of the building] and go to the houses of your relatives, call them. There may be a chance that they went somewhere else. Please do it now. I talked to the BFP. Everyone inside [the building] died.)
Due to the ‘extreme heat’ and the thick smoke caused by burning rubbers and other highly flammable materials used in making slippers, firefighters had a hard time extinguishing the flame. But by afternoon, the fire was declared under control.
Gatchalian and the BFP said that the most of the factory workers who were not able to escape the fire were those in the second floor because of the heat and smoke concentration in the floor.