MANILA -- Two villages were affected by a fire that razed several houses in Paco, Manila past 5 p.m. Wednesday, leaving 2,000 families homeless and several others wounded.

The fire, which lasted for about four hours, reportedly started at 5:45 p.m. at the house of Jenny Peralta located at the back of the Philippine Columbian Office at Canonigo Street corner Gomez Street, the boundary of Paco and Pandacan.

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The blaze quickly spread to neighboring houses that were mostly built from light materials.

Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) officials in Manila have raised the fire into general alarm, indicating the need for back-up to control the fire. Several fire stations from nearby cities augmented in putting off the blaze.

Affected residents, in a television interview Wednesday night, blamed firefighters for the incident.

In response, the BFP admitted that there was a problem in coordination between volunteers and government forces.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Charito Planas, in a telephone interview Wednesday, said the narrow alleys in the areas where the fire hit made it difficult for firefighters to put out the blaze right away.

"Sa mga crowded kasi na area, sa mga alley nila, tao lang pwede makadaan, kaya hindi madaling makapasok ang mga bombero (In crowded areas, only people could pass. Fire trucks could not easily enter)," Planas said.

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) was among the first to respond to the incident.

The agency, as of Wednesday evening, treated four patients, namely: Joseph Carlogermo, Leonardo Aquino, Ivan Quintana, and Aryan Importado.

Carlogermo suffered from suffocation. The Red Cross Emergency Response Unit (ERU) team transported him to the Ospital ng Maynila. He was admitted at the emergency room.

The 74-year-old Aquino, meanwhile, experienced dizziness.

Red Cross also reported two cases of laceration -- Quintana, right foot; and Importado, left foot.

As of this posting Wednesday, Red Cross manpower and trucks are still on site for assistance. These include the Pasay ambulance, Emergency One from ERU Manila, National Headquarters (NHQ) ERU medic 1 and 4, and the Red Pumper (ERU Fire Truck).

Officials are now working out on evacuations centers where the fire victims could temporarily stay. Among them is the Manuel A. Roxas High School.

Authorities are yet to determine the reason behind the incident and clearing operations are ongoing.

The Paco fire occurred just hours after a blaze engulfed an upscale 30-unit apartment in Ermita, also in Manila, Wednesday morning.

No one was reported injured in the incident, which reportedly reached fifth alarm.

Fire Officer 1 John Halige of the Manila Fire Department said the fire broke out at 10:40 a.m. at 1322 L. Guerrero Street near the corner of Padre Faura Street.

Firemen managed to put the fire out at 12 noon.

Damage to property was placed at P1 million.

Fire probers are still investigating the cause of the fire. (Sunnex/With Press release/PNA)