Fire rages through 21-storey Manila building, 1 dead

Fire rages through 21-storey Manila building, 1 dead

Firefighters train their hoses on a fire consuming the top floors of the 21-storey Pacific Coastal Plaza condominium on Monday, in Manila, Philippines. (AP photo)
Firefighters train their hoses on a fire consuming the top floors of the 21-storey Pacific Coastal Plaza condominium on Monday, in Manila, Philippines. (AP photo)

MANILA: A fire raged through the top floors of a 21-storey residential building in the Philippine capital on Monday, in the middle of a scorching summer. Officials said firefighters managed to guide most residents to safety, but at least one person, a woman, was killed.

Mayor Edwin Olivarez said by telephone that more than 100 fire engines battled the blaze at the Pacific Coast Plaza condominium in Paranaque city, where one lane of a coastal road along Manila Bay was closed due to falling debris. At least one woman was found dead in the upper floors, radio DZMM reported.

A firefighter was given first aid due to fatigue.

Investigators will inspect the floors gutted by the fire, which was put under control about three hours after it started. The fire apparently started in or near the garbage chute that runs from the top to the ground floor, Olivarez said.

At the height of the fire, dark smoke billowed from the mid-section of the top five floors, leaving a black stain on the white facade of the building, which Olivarez said was built more than two decades ago. Many Chinese citizens have moved into the condominium in recent years, he said.

Fire officials say more than 100 fires have hit the Philippine capital this summer, more than in the previous year, mostly because of faulty electrical connections and unattended candles and gas lamps. Some of the fires quickly spread in densely packed shantytowns.

The Philippines has a poor safety record blamed on weak enforcement of regulations and past corruption.

A nightclub fire killed 162 people, mostly students celebrating the end of the school year, in suburban Quezon City in the capital in 1996. Many of the victims were unable to escape because the emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door.



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