Victims couldn’t find their way out of padlocked building
Fifteen people including six children perished on Saturday after they were trapped in a burning market in Zamboanga City, police said.
The victims were sleeping in the padlocked building when the fire, believed to have been triggered by faulty electrical wiring, broke out before dawn, Chief Inspector Joel Tuttuh said.
Vendors and their families regularly spend the night inside the decrepit market in the port city of Zamboanga to watch over their merchandise, mostly used clothes and vegetables, he said. All but one of the buildings’ entrance and exit doors are left open for the night, he said.
“The victims were trapped in the burning building. They couldn’t find their way out,” Tuttuh said.
Two of the six children who perished were one year old, he said, adding 13 other people were being treated in hospital for severe burns.
Supt. Dominador Zabala Jr., fire marshal at the Zamboanga City Fire District, said the fire razed 350 stalls, mostly used-clothing shops, and partially destroyed a three-story commercial building.
Damage to property is estimated at P8 million.
Zabala said the fire broke out around 2:45 a.m. Saturday in one of the stalls owned by a certain Mannan and rapidly spread to nearby stalls.
Zabala said the fire has reached third alarm in few minutes after it broke out.
The fire was placed under control around 5:20 a.m. and was declared fire out at 7:50 a.m..
Investigation showed the fire started when an ember from an electric post that sparked fell into a stall of used clothing.
“Apparently it was a spark in the (electrical) wiring,” Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said referring to the possible origin of the fire.
Salazar said the other stalls that were razed were selling marine products and vegetables.
Salazar noted that some of the stalls were constructed illegally by the occupants.
She said the victims who were killed and injured were among the people staying in their stalls while some had just stayed overnight as they were scheduled to travel to Jolo, Sulu.
The names of the fatalities released by the local police and the City Disaster Risk
Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) are the following: Kayulan Hasiddin, 48; Musal Hasiddin, 45; Radzhata Hasiddin, 28; Bunay Hasiddin, one; Crissamae Hasiddin, 3; Noynoy Hasiddin, 5; Nurais Hasiddin, 9; Radzmer Hasiddin, 10; Ruhilyn Hamis, 26; Jasper Hamis, 1; Abei Salahuddin, 40; Nuru-in Salahuddin, 39; Algabid Salahuddin, 20; Marilyn Salahuddin, 32; and, Binnas Salahuddin, 20.
Those who suffered burns and taken to the hospitals are as follows: Alvin Bete, 14; Annang Erilis, 45; Nurmina Jamiri, 18; Yasser Jamiri, 29; Almudzra Hamis, 31; Midzfar Hamis, 7; Farhana Hamis, 9; Bennaser Hamis, 32; Abdurahman Hamis, 36; Nasriya Hamis, 5; Nasmiya Hamis, 9; Albini Jaani, 32 and, Alfredo Mana, 16.
Climaco-Salazar said the injured victims would be transferred to the Mindanao Central Sanitarium, also in Zamboanga City.
The mayor said she has instructed City Social Welfare and Development Officer Socorro Rojas to provide the necessary assistance to the victims.
Huge and sometimes deadly fires at sprawling slums as well as markets and factories are common in the Philippines, where fire safety regulations are sometimes willfully disregarded.
Last May, 72 people were killed after a huge blaze tore through a footwear factory in Valenzuela City (Metro Manila).
In one of country’s deadliest-ever fires, 162 people were killed and 94 others were injured at the Ozone Disco in Quezon City (Metro Manila) in 1996.