Philippine slipper factory fire - 31 dead

Manila - A fire at a Philippine rubber slipper factory killed 31 workers on Wednesday and dozens were missing and feared dead, government and fire officials said.

Ariel Barayuga, head of bureau of fire protection, said investigators were trying to determine the cause of fire in the capital, Manila, that trapped workers at the two-storey factory building of Kentex Manufacturing, which makes flip-flops and slippers.

A fireman who gave his name as Soriano said 31 bodies had been found, adding most of the victims had died of suffocation.

"There could be more buried under debris," he said.

"There was someone who was welding at the main entrance and suddenly there was an explosion. It was really fast."

He said there were flammable materials and chemicals that helped spread the flames.

About 200 to 300 people worked in the factory, according to Veato Ang, the factory owner. "It just broke out and people started running," he said.

Thirty-nine workers had been accounted for, but 65 were reported missing and feared dead. Portions of the wall and roof on the second floor also collapsed and hit some of the workers.

"I have been informed that 65 people could not be located and might be inside that building," Mayor Rex Gatchalian told journalists. "I was told no one survived inside, but I am still hoping some of those trapped were able to escape the building safely."

About 150 people died in the worst fire in Manila which broke out at a popular disco in 1996.

"We were all confused because almost everybody was panicking," Jun Panalo, a worker who jumped from the second floor, told reporters.

"I jumped out, and then someone followed me. I jumped through the fire. My hair was burned."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Are you going to keep wearing a mask following the announcement that it is no longer required under law?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No ways, I'm done
5% - 5436 votes
Yes, I still want to be cautious
91% - 107130 votes
Only certain circumstances
4% - 4834 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.22
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
19.70
-0.2%
Rand - Euro
16.95
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.18
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.2%
Gold
1,814.15
-0.2%
Silver
20.63
-0.5%
Palladium
1,981.00
+0.9%
Platinum
912.50
-0.6%
Brent Crude
116.26
-1.5%
Top 40
60,396
-1.9%
All Share
66,557
-1.8%
Resource 10
64,589
-1.8%
Industrial 25
79,220
-1.7%
Financial 15
14,829
-2.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE