Manila, Oct 31 (IANS) At least 15 people, including six children, were killed while 13 others were injured in fire that hit a market in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and local police investigator believed the fire started around 2.45 a.m. (local time) on Friday and rapidly spread in Magay area in Zone 1 Village, Xinhua news agency reported.
Witnesses told the police that an electrical post accidentally sparked and ignited clothing stock in a stall.
“The fire immediately reached the third alarm level in just minutes,” City Fire Marshal Senior Superintendent Dominador Zabala Junior said.
Firefighters had difficulties in penetrating the interior portion as the fire had almost engulfed almost the entire area, Zabala said.
About 350 stalls were scorched and an adjacent three-story commercial building was partially damaged.
Local official said many vendors and their families spend the night inside their stalls despite government ordinance prohibition.
“The victims were awaken from their slumber and tried to escape but were trapped in a corner by the fire,” Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said.
Witnesses said among the charred bodies were a mother hugging her child.
Some of those injured who suffered third-degree burns were rushed to different hospitals for treatment.