Philippines: Fire kills 15 in Zamboanga City market

31st Oct 2015
Philippines: Fire kills 15 in Zamboanga City market

By Hader Glang

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY,  (AA): A fire at a market in the southern Philippines killed 15 people early Saturday, injured at least 11 others and razed over a hundred stores to the ground, officials said.

Those who died were live-in vendors, stuck inside their shops as the blaze took hold.

The fire swept through the used clothing and vegetable stores section of a water side market in Zamboanga City — a majority Christian city in the Muslim south — around 3.00 a.m. (0900GMT Saturday), Sr. Fire Supt. Dominador Domy Zabala Jr. told reporters.

All of the 15 killed were burned beyond recognition, while the injured were taken to private hospitals, according to Elmier Apolinario, the city administrator.

“The 15 retrieved bodies, including a mother embracing her baby, were apparently trapped and badly burned inside their stores,” he said.

Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, mayor of Zamboanga city, said the fire was contained before 6.00 a.m.

Investigators are yet to determine the cause.

“The city government is continuously enforcing the market ordinance and other laws aimed to ensure law and order in the main market. At the moment, authorities are conducting post fire investigation and clearing the area,” said Climaco-Salazar.

The market place is located in the waterfront complex within Zamboanga City, the principal city in the greater surrounding area.

Most of the merchants living in the area were of Chinese origin, exchanging goods and services with the local population.

A majority of the victims, including the fatalities, were live-in native vendors in the used clothes and dried fish section, Torres Fuego, a radio journalist, reported on Brigada News FM

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of this [tragedy], which happened on the eve of Halloween celebrations this 2015,” he said.

 

[Photo: A fire at a market in the southern Philippines killed 15 people early Saturday, injured at least 11 others and razed over a hundred stores to the ground on October 31, 2015 in Zamboanga City, Philippines. Photographer: Hader Glang/AA]

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