Manila fire: 15,000 slum-dwellers homeless after devastating blaze

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A scene from the devastating fire.

A massive fire swept through an impoverished neighbourhood near the docks in Manila, leaving 15,000 slum-dwellers homeless.

At least seven people were injured in the blaze that broke out late on Tuesday (February 7) in Parola Compound in Tondo, Manila, and raged for 10 hours, engulfing more than 1,000 makeshift homes, fire officer Edilberto Cruz said. No fatalities have yet been reported.

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The blaze started 9.38pm in Area B, Gate 7 of the shanty town, according to Senior Superintendent Wilberto Tiu, city chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Fire authorities said the flames spread quickly as most shacks in the area are made of materials such as wood and tarpaulin.

Superintendent Tiu said 90 fire trucks were deployed to the incident.

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Firefighters and residents look on as the fire destroys hundreds of homes.

Three evacuation centres have been opened, and food and water provided to the 3,000 families who lost their homes, said social welfare officer Regina Jane Mata.

Many of the affected families left their belongings on a major road, blocking trucks hauling containers at the port.

The cause is still unknown, the BFP has said, but an initial investigation suggests that it may have been due to faulty electric wiring or an unattended gas stove.

Ignoring safety regulations often leads to large sometimes deadly fires at slums, markets and factories in Manila, one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

Only a week ago a worker was killed and more than a hundred injured at a huge industrial fire at a factory south of the capital.

In 2015, 72 workers were killed when they were trapped in a rubber slipper factory to the north of Manila.

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