MANILA (Updated) -- More than 100 workers, including three Japanese, were injured and at least three were missing in a fire that hit a huge factory in Cavite province and sent thousands of employees scampering to safety, an official said Thursday.
The fire at the House Technology Industries was put under control around 2 a.m. Thursday but has not been fully extinguished nearly 18 hours after it started in General Trias town in Cavite, said Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla. Firefighters hope to enter and inspect the factory later Thursday, February 2.
About 10 of the injured were in critical condition, Remulla told ABS-CBN TV news, adding some employees jumped from windows to escape the blaze at the three-story building where pre-fabricated house parts are manufactured for export to Japan.
The fire apparently started in a section where a machine used to manufacture house insulation materials overheated, he said.
Manny Pueblo, municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer of Rosario town, said residents in the area heard a loud explosion from the building's ground floor around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 1.
Workers of a nearby firm then saw flames coming out and gradually engulfing the plant building.
A third of about 15,000 employees were on duty when the fire struck and company officials were doing a count to find out if any more were missing at the sprawling factory compound located in a special economic zone in General Trias, about 26 kilometers (16 miles) south of Manila.
Calabarzon Civil Defense Officer Lorenzo Haveria reported though that as of 8:20 p.m. Wednesday, around 84 injured factory workers were rushed to Cavite nearby hospitals.
About 57 were treated at Divine Grace Hospital, while 27 others were admitted to the General Trias Maternity Hospital.
Our team responded to a fire incident happening at House Tech Industries Limited, EPZA, Rosario, Cavite.— Philippine Red Cross (@philredcross) February 1, 2017
Current status: Task Force Delta pic.twitter.com/lgDingJnb7