Five brothers and sisters perish as fire rips through Manila slum

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Smoke billows from the fire that ripped through Laperal Street in Tondo, Manila, this morning. Photo courtesy of the Fire Alert Metro Manila Twitter account.

Five children from the same family were killed when a devastating fire ripped through a slum district of Manila. 

The Manila Fire Department has confirmed the deaths following the blaze in Tondo this morning (Monday, August 27).

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Raxabago Police Station has identified the five siblings as members of the Gemeniano family. They were John Mike aged 12; Michael, seven; Marcelo Nikko, four; Mhiel Mikael, three; and Michaella, one.

According to an initial investigation, the fire started at 9.17am at the children’s family home, a three-story building in Barangay 91, Zone 8.

The children were said to have been left at home while their parents went out to buy food, and were unable to leave the house as the door had been locked from the outside.

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According to an initial investigation by the Bureau of Fire Protection, one of the children was playing with a lighter and accidentally set fire to a pile of clothes.

After the fire broke out, another brother, who has not been named, managed to escape by jumping through a window. He then called out to John Mike to follow him. However, the big brother opted to stay with the younger siblings in the hope of finding a way out for all of them.

The five were believed to have succumbed to suffocation or smoke inhalation.

The fire, which damaged 40 houses and affected 100 families, was declared under control by 11.45am and was extinguished by 1.34pm.

Six other people living nearby were reported to have sustained injuries.

Tondo is particularly prone to fire due to the flimsy low-cost construction of slum dwellings. In February 2017, for example, we reported on a blaze that left 15,000 people homeless.

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