• Firecracker blast kills 2 kids, mother in Bulacan

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    TWO children—ages two and five—and their mother were killed in another explosion at a firecrackers factory in a village in Santa Maria, Bulacan on Wednesday morning.

    INVESTIGATORS scour through debris at the site of the fireworks factory explosion. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

    INVESTIGATORS scour through debris at the site of the fireworks factory explosion. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

    The blast also wounded four workers at AA Firecracker Manufacturing owned by Wilfredo Alonzo in Sitio Bangka-bangkaan, Barangay Pulong Buhangin.

    The fatalities were identified as siblings Ashley, 2 and Brylee, 5 and their mother Mary Grace Mayo, 28.

    The children were brought along by their mother to bring food to their father who was working at the factory.

    Wounded were Ryan Magnai, 31; Raymond Montante; Jay-Ar Mejares; and Nelson Duque.

    Supt. Ranier Valones, Santa Maria chief of police, said the explosion happened around 9:30 a.m. while the victims were making skyrockets, commonly known as kwitis.

    The police are determining the cause of the explosion pending completion of their investigation.

    Residents near the blast site said some of the victims were stay-in workers at the factory.

    The incident is the second in a little over one month when a fireworks store exploded killing three people and wounding 24 others in Bocaue town.

    The incident prompted Mayor Eleanor Villanueva-Tugna to issue a closure order on all fireworks businesses.

    The casualties were factory owner Gina Gonzales, Manuel Ayala and Perla Santos, all of Barangay Binang 1st.
    Meanwhile, Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado has ordered Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. to intensify the crackdown on illegal factories and stalls especially where oversized or banned types of deadly firecrackers are clandestinely being manufactured and sold.

    Similarly, Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Police Region Office 3 director, ordered the inspection of all firecracker manufacturers/warehouses and stores within the region, particularly in Bulacan.

    Aside from Bocaue town that is known as the firecracker capital of the Philippines, the fireworks industry also thrives in Santa Maria town where more factories and stores had opened in recent years.

    Production of firecrackers is now at its peak as Christmas and New Year draw near when there is very high demand for the colorful but dangerous noisemakers.

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