MANILA (AFP, REUTERS) - Three people were killed and nearly two dozen were injured after a fire broke out in a hotel in Manila on Sunday (March 18), with others plucked from the rooftop by helicopter.
Police and rescue officials said two employees of the Waterfront Manila Pavilion, a hotel and casino complex, were missing and rescue operations were ongoing. At least six people were brought to hospital.
The fire began in the morning and raged for more than six hours before it was brought under control, prompting more than 300 people to flee the area.
Of the three who died, two were identified as hotel employees, said Mr Johnny Yu, chief of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
“The two are a security guard and a treasury officer. They were likely trapped, suffered from suffocation and were brought to the hospital but declared dead on arrival,” Mr Yu told reporters.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire, which is believed to have begun in the casino or mezzanine area of the 21-floor hotel which regularly hosted both locals and foreigners.
Responders sent a helicopter to rescue people trapped on the rooftop and officials launched a ground operation to get the others out.
Manila is one of 16 cities making up Metro Manila. Nearby cities were helping put out the blaze, Manila’s fire department said.
“This is a major fire. There were those who inhaled the smoke and were brought to the hospital,” senior fire officer Marlon Banaag told AFP.
Deadly blazes break out regularly in the Philippines, particularly in slum areas where there are virtually no safety standards.
The deadliest in recent years was in suburban Manila where 72 people died in 2015 at a factory which makes rubber slippers.
In the southern city of Davao, 38 people were killed in December 2017 by a fire that ravaged a shopping mall and a call centre.