Cavite factory blaze injures more than a hundred workers

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More than a hundred workers were injured in an 18-hour fire that gutted a Japanese-run factory at an economic zone in Rosario, Cavite, authorities said Thursday.

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Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla said at least 104 people were brought to different hospitals, a number of them in “very critical” condition and with third-degree burns in 70 to 90 percent of their bodies.

Fire Sr. Supt. Sergio Soriano Jr., regional director of the Calabarzon Bureau of Fire Protection, said fire broke out around 5 p.m. Wednesday at Japanese-owned House Technology Industries (HTI).

The cost of damage was pegged at P5 billion.

Charito Plaza, director general of Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), said about 7,000 employees were at work during the incident and some of those on the upper floor were trapped because the fire broke out on the second floor of the six-hectare facility.

The official said PEZA would provide assistance to the victims. Initial investigation showed that the fire was caused by a power malfunction.

HTI, where housing materials for export to Japan are manufactured, is the biggest group of companies in the processing zone. The facility was also hit by fire four years ago.

Remulla said PEZA is a special economic zone with its own charter and is not under the jurisdiction of the local government. He, however, said the Japanese firm would be investigated for lapses in fire safety measures. MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO

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