A fire at a market in southern Philippines killed 15 vendors and injured 13 others at dawn Saturday, according to reports. The fire also damaged a part of the market, officials said.
The incident occurred in Zamboanga city in Mindanao, the second-largest island in Philippines. Sparks from low-hanging electric cables set fire to stall umbrellas then set ablaze stacks of used clothing sold at the market, Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro said, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Among the deceased were six children. Vendors usually sleep at their stall in order to get up early for the weekend market, which attracts a considerable crowd, police investigator Rafael Salcedo reportedly said.
"One vendor saw the electrical sparks set a stall umbrella on fire, but many were asleep and the others thought somebody was just playing a prank until the fire started to spread," Salcedo told AP. The fire was contained and, according to Salcedo, the bodies of the deceased were transported to a local mosque before burial, AP reported.
Salcedo reportedly said that daily blackouts might have led to power fluctuations. However, Bureau of Fire investigators would decide whether officers in charge of fire safety could be held legally responsible, Salcedo said.