3 dead and 65 missing after a fire consumed a slipper factory in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City.
Most of those missing are workers of the factory believed to have been trapped inside.
Valenzuela Bureau of Fire Protection Unit declared that the fire was under control at exactly 4:11 pm.
The Valenzuela City Mayor, Rex Gatchalian, confirmed that 3 people died and 65 people are missing.
The Bureau of fire protection believed that all of the people inside the factory did not survive.
The Mayor is optimistic and praying that there will be survivors. The fire reached task force charlie. Task Force Charlie is a fire alert level requiring the presence of the Deputy Regional Director having jurisdiction of the fire area. This simply means that the fire is huge.
The Firemen had difficulty extinguishing the fire caused by thick smoke. The Chemicals used in the slipper factory is the reason behind the thick smoke.
Witnesses narrated that they were astounded by a loud sound caused by an explosion at the gate of the factory. A cloud of very thick smoke was seen following the explosion.
According to one of the factory owners, Beato Ang, approximately 40 to 50 employees were inside the 2-story factory building when the fire broke out.
Beato Ang explained that there was flammable material inside the factory which was not covered. Workers were doing a welding job when the flammables exploded. It was not clear though if the fire was caused by a spark or otherwise.
The welders survived. They were able to run when the flammable materials exploded.
The explosion happened at the main gate very near the staircase where the 3 people died.
According to the survivors, many are trapped on the second floor of the factory building.
Most of those who survived are those who are working on the ground floor.
Noontime, one of the relatives of those trapped received a text message that persons are still alive and trapped inside. The truthfulness of the text message was not verified.
One of the volunteer firemen suffocated because of the thick smoke. The fireman said he was not suffocated by the thick smoke but because of the smell of the chemicals burning.
Seven hours passed and the fire is not yet declared fire out.
Tents were erected by the local government to shelter the relatives of those trapped inside the factory while waiting for news of their fate.
A deep investigation will be conducted as to the cause of the fire, the Mayor said.
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