At least three people died and five people were injured including a volunteer in a fire on New Year’s day that left thousands of squatters homeless in Balintawak, Quezon City.
Arson investigators identified one fatality as Jayceelyn whose full identity is being verified.
In an update, Chief Insp. Renato Marcial, spokesman of the Bureau of Fire Protection, told radio dzMM that the fire broke out at 6:45 a.m. in the house of one Janine Lopez in Kaingin Bukid, Barangay Apolonio Samson after an explosion which witness described came from a skyrocket or “kwitis” .
The blaze reached general alarm at 8:10 a.m. that drew about a 100 firetrucks , including those belonging to the Filipino-Chinese fire volunteers.
In a report, fire aide Paul Manuel was brought to the Chinese General Hospital after losing three fingers when a cooking gas tank exploded in the fire that also destroyed the belfry of the the Mother of Perpetual Help chapel.
On ABS-CBN news, a QC fire executive said an aide being a non-BFD employee only received renumeration as a volunteer and not covered for his hospitalization.
An appeal was made to assist Manuel whose wife just delivered a baby last week.
Officials said the fire was put under control at 11:19 a.m. before it was declared out by 12:45 p.m.
Chief Supt. Ariel Barayuga, BFP officer-in-charge, told ABS-CBN news that water pressure in hyrdrants was low and firefighters had to water from a creek.
“(Manuel) will undergo a four-hour operation,” he was quoted as saying. “Doctors will try to re-attach his three fingers.”
Resident Rommel Balmaceda, 39, was reported to have a laceration on his left shoulder in the blaze that destroyed P5 million worth of properties.