A massive fire burnt through several shanties in a slum in Philippines’ capital city of Manila as the country dealt with several complaints of fire on the first day of the New Year. Officials said that the fire in the slum was reportedly started by firecrackers, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The fire, which began after dawn, started after some children in the neighborhood set off some firecrackers, AP reported. Strong winds in the region helped the fire spread through nearly a half-mile long line of shanties even as firefighters struggled to reach the area through its narrow lanes. Elsewhere in the country, at least seven people died from two fires, AP reported. It is unclear if there were any casualties in the Manila fire.
"It's really a tragic way to welcome the New Year," Noel Carino, an official, said, according to AP.
Thousands of residents were displaced as authorities received reports of about 14 fires across the country, as people welcomed the New Year with fireworks, Renato Marcial, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Fire Protection, told ABS-CBN TV network, AP reported. According to officials, several of these fires were triggered by firecrackers.
Power to the affected areas in Manila was cut off and the Bureau of Fire Protection asked the country's air force to help reach inaccessible areas, GMA Network, a local news website reported.