(5th Update) 8 dead, 70 hurt in Cavite fireworks factory blast

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2009 11:57 AM | Updated as of Jan 30 2009 08:39 AM

The death toll in the powerful explosion that ripped a fireworks factory in Trece Martires City on Thursday has been raised to eight.

Four of the six remaining victims, which have been brought to the Funeraria Mabini in Trece Martires City, are already identified.

The four victims who have been identified are Clodelio Iso, Marlon Rodrin, Angelo Francisco, and Gerardo Amparo Jr.

Earlier, Superintendent Steve Ludan, Cavite police spokesman, said the death toll may rise as retrieval teams continue to search the "razed to the ground" Star Maker fireworks factory in Barangay Conchu.

Ludan said arson investigators and ordnance personnel have yet to determine the cause of the deadly explosion that took place around 10:45 a.m.

Superintendent Reynaldo Galang, city police chief, said medical teams have recorded at least 70 injured people.

City Mayor Melencio de Sagun earlier said only two bodies of the five fatalities are intact. He said three other bodies that belonged to a woman and two men were dismembered.

De Sagun said he has suspended primary and secondary school classes in the city because of the tragedy.

Galang said the fire sparked by the explosion spread to a nearby building of the Yoshita Electronics. The electronics factory's owner, Salvador Tan, also owns the fireworks factory.

Powerful

Police had said the powerful explosions created several craters on the factory's compound. Radio dzMM reported that one crater measured 200 meters wide.

Efren Saniel, a resident living meters away from the factory, said he was at the kitchen when the first explosion took place.

Saniel said he ran for safety, but a falling metal door of their house hit him. Saniel's home was partially damaged by the blasts.

"We felt the explosion's impact. It's like our house was being lifted from the ground," he said.

Cavite provincial police chief Hernando Zafra said the blast was so powerful it nearly brought down the whole factory. He said the blast was heard by people three kilometers away from the site.

Most of the 70 injured in the blast have already been discharged from hospitals.

Five of the victims, however, are still confined, with two still in critical condition.

The city government is now studying plans to prevent the factory from being rebuilt after the incident. With reports from Ron Gagalac, Zyann Ambrosio, Julius Babao, and Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News, and dzMM