3 Americans, Korean among 7 dead in Olongapo fire

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Friday, January 11, 2013


OLONGAPO CITY — A fire swept through a hotel in Barangay Barretto in this city early Friday, killing seven people, including three Americans, three Filipinos and a South Korean, authorities said.

The three American men and the South Korean man were found dead in separate rooms in the Dryden Hotel, a small two-storey tourist hotel in Olongapo city, a former U.S. naval base, said police Senior Inspector Gil Arizo Domingo. The bodies of three Filipino women were found in separate parts of the hotel, he said.

Olongapo hotel fire
Funeral workers carry the body of a victim following a fire that razed a small two-storey hotel at Olongapo city, a former U.S. naval base, west of Manila, Philippines Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. The fire swept through the hotel in a Philippine resort city early Friday, killing seven people, including three Americans, three Filipinos and a South Korean, authorities said. (AP Photo)

Adjacent bars and another hotel were not affected by the three-hour blaze, which started at around 3 a.m., Domingo said.

The building's facade and ground floor are made of concrete, but the second floor is largely wooden. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Domingo identified one of the Americans as James Brigati of Kodiak, Alaska. The two others were identified as Patrick Dart and Joseph Valuso, whose hometowns were not immediately available. The South Korean man was identified as Kyung Ook-kim of Suwan City.

The victims' ages were not immediately available.

Olongapo, which is about 80 kilometers west of Manila, is a popular beach destination, especially among American visitors, many of whom are former service members who were deployed there when the coastal city hosted one of the largest U.S. bases overseas. The base closed in 1991. (AP/Anthony Bayarong/Sunnex)

Updated with correction (February 15, 2013) - The Associated Press misspelled a victim's surname based on incorrect information provided by city police. He was Patrick Dart from Los Gatos, California, not Patrick Burt as reported.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 12, 2013.

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