A Philippines factory fire left 72 people dead and several others injured. Authorities confirmed the victims were employees at the Kentex Manufacturing Corp., which produces rubber slippers. Although the details are unclear, officials confirmed the workers were trapped inside the building and were unable to escape.
As reported by CNN, the Philippines factory fire was ignited by welding sparks. Valenzuela City officials confirmed the sparks came into contact with chemicals, which are used to manufacture the slippers. As a result, the chemicals exploded and burst into flames.
Steve Chua, who was present when the fire began, said he and his colleagues attempted to douse the blaze with water. Unfortunately, it was simply too late. Within minutes, the entire building was engulfed in flames.
Firefighters rescued an estimated five workers from inside the building. Unfortunately, 72 others succumbed to the smoke and flames.
Venezuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the workers fled to the building’s second floor, which they were unable to escape. Witnesses contend the factory’s second-story windows were covered with “iron grills reinforced with fencing wire.”
Officials said grills and wire are commonly used on windows in the Philippines to prevent theft. However, Venezuela City Fire Marshal Mel Jose Lagan said the workers could have escaped down a second-story staircase, which led to the outside.
Death toll from Philippine factory fire rises to 72: fire official http://t.co/XHXTdqoLkq
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 14, 2015
Fire marshals are in the process of investigating why the workers were unable to use the staircase. They are also concerned, as the number of employees inside the building exceeded safety regulations.
Mayor Gatchalian said the investigation could take months. As reported by Fox News, a majority of the workers were burned beyond recognition. Therefore, officials will be forced to use dental records and DNA to positively identify the victims.
— Metro News Canada (@MetroNewsCanada) May 14, 2015
Although the factory kept a daily log, which identified all present employees, the log was destroyed in the massive blaze.
Mayor Gatchalian said the city is prepared to assist the victims’ families through this difficult time. The support will include immediate assistance with health care and food, as well as assistance with funeral arrangements and burial costs.
The Philippines factory fire devastated the entire community. Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina assured the victims’ families “all those accountable and those at fault” will be criminally charged.
[Image via Shutterstock]