A blaze at a slipper and shoe factory in Valenzuela City in the Philippines has killed 72 people, authorities suggested on Thursday.
Authorities suggested that many of the dead were recovered from the factory’s second floor, where they were likely trapped. Earlier today, investigators were still pulling bodies out of the aftermath – and many of the dead were burnt beyond recognition, posing a difficulty for families to identify their loved ones. The dead will have to be identified by forensic experts who will examine their teeth, height and recognizable physical traits.
Posing a larger difficulty for the blaze was the fact that the log book containing the currently working factory employees was burnt, and it is harder to determine how many were in the factory at the time of the tragic fire.
The total number of survivors is still unclear, according to authorities on late Wednesday. Though, five still alive people who were pulled from the factory on Wednesday were taken to local hospitals.
The fire was put out in the late evening after the fire started before noon on Wednesday, according to the CNN article. The fire took so long to extinguish because of the smoke and highly combustible materials at the factory.
Initial investigations suggested the cause of the fire was sparks from welding work near the factory’s entrance that jumped onto chemicals in nearby containers that started the blaze, where the flames spread in seconds, according to witnesses.
According to a Yahoo article, the blaze is being investigated as a criminal matter and those trapped in the factory’s second floor were unable to escape because of iron grills on the windows.
In honour of those lost, the capital city’s city hall flew flags at half-mast, according to the CNN article.