MANILA - (6TH UPDATE) Several fires hit Metro Manila and the southern city of Davao, killing at least one person and putting a damper on New Year revelries, authorities said Monday.
A rocket (kwitis) ignited the blaze in Geresa Subdivision, Davao City that razed some 50 houses, according to residents. The fire spread quickly as structures in the area were made mostly of light materials.
The fatality, Elmer Lañora, died from suffocation after he was trapped in his rented home in Katarungan Village, Pasig City, where a blaze destroyed 15 houses.
President Rodrigo Duterte's executive order that restricts the use of fireworks to community zones was implemented for the first time this year to help prevent injuries and fires that have marred the annual New Year celebrations in the Philippines.
Lañora's neighbor, Erlinda Estabillo, said she tried to enter his house during the fire but the door was locked. The victim's stove was in flames, she said.
“Mahina na yun, may sakit. Di nakatakbo. Siya lang mag-isa sa bahay, na-suffocate,” added Fire Marshall Supt. Arturo Marcos.
(He's weak and sickly. He wasn't able to run. He was alone in his house and suffocated.)
Investigators ruled out the possibility that firecrackers started the fire. At least 30 families were evacuated.
In Caloocan, a lump of telephone wires were set ablaze in a commercial area in Sangandaan, Barangay 74. The fire lasted for 20 minutes before it was put out.
In Novaliches, Quezon City, a barracks for construction workers caught fire and authorities said they were checking if it was caused by firecrackers that were reportedly lit in front of the structure.
The fire reached the second alarm and lasted for 30 minutes before it was put out. No one was reported injured or killed in the blaze. -- Reports from Jekki Pascual, Lyza Aquino, and Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News