Valenzuela factory fire kills 31

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Photo by Dondon Cruz/CNN Philippines

(CNN Philippines) — At least 31 people were killed and one was injured in a fire that blazed through a slipper factory in Sitio Gitna, Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City on Wednesday (May 13).

Most died due to suffocation.

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said that a number of factory workers are still missing and are feared to be dead.

However, Gatchalian is still hoping that the missing workers were able to escape the factory just as the fire was starting.

The seven-hour fire was the biggest that ever hit the city in terms of casualties, Gatchalian added.

The fire started 11:28 a.m. and was officially put out at 6:47 p.m. Task Force Charlie, the fourth highest alarm, was raised at 12:38 p.m.

Firefighters had difficulty putting out the fire because of the thick smoke emitted by burning rubber and other flammable materials.

Senior Supt. Wilberto Nilo, chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Camanava, said the firefighters had a hard time entering the office of the warehouse due to the extreme heat.

The cause of fire is still being investigated.