MANILA - A massive fire left around 3,000 families homeless in Tondo, Manila at the height of New Year revelries on Friday.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire, which reached General Alarm, started at Barangay 155 and spread to Barangay 160.
The blaze gutted around 1,000 houses, mostly shanties.
BFP Arson Investigator Sonny Lacuban said resident Mary Jane Jaboc claimed the fire started from a "watusi." The firecracker hit an unoccupied house at Raja Bago Street, Barangay 155 at 3 a.m.
Another resident, Margie Joaquin, confirmed this to radio dzMM.
"Iyung watusi, tumitilansik. Pumasok doon sa sirang bahay, lumang bahay na kahoy lang," she said. "Tapos napansin namin, malaki na iyung apoy. Hindi na nila kinayang patayin iyung apoy.
The blaze quickly spread along the streets of Laon Nasa, M. Dizon and Dagupan extension. It raged for three hours before it was controlled by firefighters at 6 a.m.
The fire also struck the village hall of Barangay 155.
Affected residents have occupied a covered court and appealed for relief aid. -- With reports from Dennis Datu, radio dzMM; Primy Cane, ABS-CBN News