The Daily Manila Shimbun


2 Japanese nationals among 155 injured in Cavite factory fire

February 2, 2017

Two Japanese nationals were reported injured after a fire razed a factory inside the Export Processing Zone Authority compound in General Trias, Cavite Wednesday evening.

A report from Cavite Provincial Police Office said they were working at House Technology Industries.

The two were among around 155 employees who sustained injuries and burns after a fire broke out around 6pm.

Divine Grace Medical Center Director Ismael Mercado said one of the Japanese was mildly injured.

Officials said a panel saw which overheated caused the fire at  the second floor of the factory when employees heard a sudden explosion. A few minutes later, power shut down, causing them to panic.

Bureau of Fire and Protection Senior Superintendent Sergio Soriano Jr. said the fire reached Task Force Delta around 9:38 pm. The blaze  was declared under control at 12:33 am.

Soriano said they have sufficient supply of water to extinguish the fire.

Soriano cannot say how many employees were inside the factory when the fire hit and if if there are persons trapped inside.

"That's why we are not leaving in the area. Once we put out the fire, we will start mapping and investigating but we hope there will be no person trapped inside," Soriano said.

"We are trying to coordinate with the management so that they can provide as a clear figure or background (on the number of employees)," he added.

PEZA Admin Nory Tañaga said in a TV interview there are more than 20,000 working at Housing Resources Development group of companies where, 6,000 work under HTI.

Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla said they were able to put out the fire by 4 am but fire was reignited by wood used for their product that is being exported to Japan.

Remulla said three people remain missing as the management starts counting their employees.

A police team was sent to the area to investigate once the fire is out.

The local government unit is helping the PEZA.

"We have to help our fellow men since they give jobs to people," Remulla said.

He said the fire marshal from PEZA is the one issuing fire clearance.

"PEZA does not allow the LGU's of the BFP to conduct fire inspection under the law," Remulla explained.

He added the company is willing to help the affected employees.  "They are the most generous among the companies that operate in Cavite," he said.

The crisis management committee said damage to property may reach up to 7 billion pesos.

The HTI factory occupies a total of 80 hectares of space which manufactures combustible materials, such as wood, Styrofoam and household products.  Ella Dionisio/DMS