Three killed in Philippines hotel fire

Clay Curtis
March 20, 2018

A fire engulfed a hotel and casino in the Philippine capital on Sunday, killing at least three employees, trapping two others and forcing the evacuation of more than 300 guests, some by helicopter, officials said.

Waterfront Philippines said in August previous year it would implement a PHP350-million (US$6.74 million) renovation programme at its Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino.

The blaze was believed to have started on Sunday (local time) on the second floor of the Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel in Manila City, where renovations were ongoing, said fire marshal Jonas Silvano.

Of the three who died, two were identified as hotel employees.

About 20 people were trapped in the Manila Pavilion Hotel, Johnny Yu, chief of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, told radio station dZMM.

Clouds of smoke covered several floors of the building and swathed ladders of firefighters, some of whom had difficulty breathing, according to an AFP photographer on the scene.

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Responders dispatched a helicopter to rescue people trapped on the roof as crews battled to evacuate others from lower floors.

President Rodrigo Duterte saw the billowing smoke and made an aerial inspection Sunday as he flew back to Manila from a northern city where he delivered a speech before Philippine Military Academy graduates, his aide said.

It took fire crews nearly an entire days to bring the blaze at the Waterfront Manila Pavilion under control.

Senior Inspector Crossib Cante, chief of the Manila Bureau of Fire Protection Station 3, said they recovered the body of Jo Cris Sabido last.

Fires break out regularly in the Philippines, particularly in slum areas where there are virtually no safety standards.

In December, 38 people died in a fire at the four-story New City Commercial Center shopping mall in the southern city of Davao.

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