Manila fire kills 16 in clothing factory

Some workers were sleeping in the building when the blaze broke out early on Thursday

The aftermath of the fatal fire in a residential village in Manila on Thursday. EPA
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At least 16 people were killed on Thursday in a fire that broke out in a small clothing factory in the Philippines, where firefighters were delayed by flooding, traffic and a wrong address, officials have said.

The youngest victim was aged three and the others appeared to have been factory workers and carpenters who were sleeping in rooms when the blaze broke out at about 5am in the two-storey building in Manila.

Chief Superintendent Nahum Tarroza of the Bureau of Fire Protection said some of the victims were found dead in an aisle outside the rooms and the factory owner was among those killed.

Eighteen people were inside the suburban house at the time of the inferno, local mayor Joy Belmonte said. Three people escaped.

Footage of the fire posted on social media and verified by AFP shows flames engulfing the building made of wood and concrete in a residential neighbourhood in the Philippine capital.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated, officials said.

The building had a business permit for trading in shoes and bags but instead was being used to make and print T-shirts, officials said. It had only three declared employees.

"We saw many legal violations here," Mr Belmonte said.

"That became the reason why there is this kind of tragic incident in our city."

Updated: August 31, 2023, 12:51 PM