MANILA – Eight warehouse employees in Pasay City died in a fire before dawn on Friday.
Fire erupted at a warehouse along Samonte Street in Barangay 47, owned by a certain Juanito Go, at around 1 a.m., trapping eight of his female employees who were believed to have been locked up inside their room.
Barangay 47 councilman Eddie Alas said officials had received complaints that Go was not allowing his employees to go out.
"Last year pa may natanggap na kami na reklamo na hindi daw sila pinapalabas, kinakandado... Nung isang araw lang, yung boyfriend ng babae, umakyat sa taas, humingi ng pagkain kasi nga pinapadlock ang pintuan nila,'' Alas said.
When firemen managed to get inside the warehouse, they discovered the victims' bodies piled on top of each other behind the door.
Some of the warehouse employees managed to get out of the burning structure.
One of the fire survivors, warehouse employee Nikki Torres, confirmed that their employer always locks them up inside their room.
Chief Inspector Doglas Guiab, Pasay City fire marshal, said Go will be charged if it is proven that he locked his employees inside their room.
Guiab added Go declared the warehouse as a residential structure and not a commercial establishment.
"Hindi ho siya declared as warehouse…We will consult with the police kung ano ang pwede nilang isampa doon,'' Guiab said.
The fire reached the second alarm and was declared under control at 6:10 a.m.
Investigators have yet to determine what triggered the blaze. Cost of damage from the fire was pegged at about P1 million.
Go, meanwhile, has been placed under police custody while an investigation is ongoing. – reports from Dexter Ganibe, dzMM; and Jerome Lantin, ABS-CBN News