In a Philippine residential area, a tragic incident unfolded on Thursday as a fire claimed the lives of 15 individuals in a small garment factory.
The firefighters tasked with responding to the emergency faced multiple obstacles, including flooding, traffic congestion, and even being provided with an incorrect address, according to a fire protection official.
The majority of the victims were apparently factory employees and carpenters who were asleep in their rooms when the fire erupted on Thursday morning. Several were discovered lifeless in an aisle adjacent to the rooms.
Shockingly, the factory owner and their child were among those who perished, as revealed by Chief Superintendent Nahum Tarroza from the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Amidst the chaos, three individuals managed to survive by leaping from the second floor of the two-story factory in a desperate bid to escape. They were subsequently transported to a hospital for treatment.
The arrival of the firefighters was severely delayed, approximately by 14 minutes, due to a combination of monsoon-induced heavy rainfall, gusty winds causing flooding, traffic bottlenecks, and the confusion stemming from an inaccurate address provided to the responders, as explained by Tarroza.
Prompted by this unfortunate event, Tarroza expressed his intention to initiate an inquiry into the delayed response of the firefighting team.
The fire, which engulfed the Pleasant View residential enclave situated in Tandang Sora village, a suburban area of Quezon City, was ultimately extinguished after a two-hour struggle. Authorities are actively investigating the root cause of the fire as well as any potential violations of safety protocols by the factory owner.
The factory itself stored a combination of flammable materials and textiles used in clothing production. Additionally, it was involved in printing designs on shirts intended for business promotions, and for the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections according to local village officials.
Regrettably, instances of non-compliant building construction and residential developments, coupled with the lax enforcement of safety standards, have previously led to fatal fires in the Philippines.
A haunting precedent was set in 1996 when a nightclub fire in Quezon City claimed the lives of 162 individuals, the majority of whom were students celebrating the conclusion of the school year.
The tragedy occurred within the confines of the Ozone disco, where around 400 people were present at the time. Tragically, many were unable to escape due to an obstructed emergency exit caused by a neighboring newly-constructed building.
The blaze resulted in 93 additional injuries, making it one of the most significant nightclub fires in recent decades on a global scale. (AI/MNM)