MANILA, Philippines –
A fire killed 15 people Thursday in a small apparel factory in a Philippine residential area, where firefighters were delayed by flooding, traffic and a wrong address, a fire protection official.
Most of the victims appeared to be factory workers and carpenters who were sleeping in rooms when the fire broke out Thursday morning.
Some were found dead on an aisle outside the rooms and the factory owner and his child were among the dead, Chief Superintendent Nahum Tarroza of the Bureau of Fire Protection said.
Three people survived with injuries by jumping off the second floor of the two-story factory in panic, Tarroza said. The three were taken to a hospital.
The firefighters’ arrival was delayed by about 14 minutes after a monsoon-season downpour and wind caused flooding and traffic jams and a wrong address was given to firefighters, Tarroza said.
Tarroza said he would order an investigation into the firefighters’ delayed response.
The fire in the Pleasant View residential enclave in Tandang Sora village in suburban Quezon city was extinguished in two hours. An investigation was looking into the cause and if safety regulations were breached by the factory owner, officials said.
The factory stored combustible materials and textile used in making apparel and also printed designs on shirts used for business promotions, village officials said.
Construction of buildings and residential enclaves that don’t conform to safety standards and lax enforcement of safety regulations have caused deadly fires in the Philippines in the past.
A 1996 nightclub fire killed 162 people, mostly students celebrating the end of the school year, in Quezon city. About 400 people were packed in the Ozone disco when the fire started, but many were unable to escape because the emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door.
Ninety-three others were injured in the blaze, one of the biggest nightclub fires in the world in recent decades.