Archive for the ‘fire’ Category

11 die in Cavite firecracker factory blast & 100+ Kenyans perished as they tap fuel from a truck

February 3, 2009


There is a horrid parallel between the fire cracker factory blast in the Philippines and the conflagration following an explosion of a gasoline truck in Kenya.

In the Cavite, on Jan 29, 2009, a firecracker factory suddenly exploded killing 11 workers and injuring 60 others. Though the cause of the blast wasn’t immediately known, faulty electrical wiring was suspected. By all probability, there could have been a breach in the safety measures in the production or handling of pyrotechnics. Accidental fires continually burned down similar factories before. The loud blast and ensuing inferno damaged nearby houses and commercial buildings.

The tragedy had been made worse by another blast which occurred the next day in Molo, Kenya. More than 100 people perished and greater than 300 more were either burned or reported missing. A fuel truck caught fire along the road when people tried to scoop free gasoline from the overturned vehicle on January 30, 2009.

“Everybody was screaming and most of them were running with fire on their bodies, they were just running into the bush,” said Charles Kamau, 22, who was driving through Molo, on Saturday night when he saw the road blocked by hundreds of people with gerry cans, plastic bottles and buckets — anything to siphon some free fuel. As he waited for the crowd to disperse, the gasoline ignited with a blast that was felt miles away. Prime Minister Raila Odinga said someone’s cigarette might have caused the explosion.”—-GMA News TV/ AP (02/01/09)

Hundred of miles apart, the two fire incidents speak of the dangers poor people face in order to survive. In the Philippines, the firecracker production is fraught with dangers, but people still do it for the job—so they can earn some money. Current government regulations fail to control the accidents that occur every year in these fireworks production facilities.

In Kenya, the pilferage of fuel from pipes and tanks has resulted to deadly accidental explosions. In 2006, about 200 people died in a gasoline blast. These incidents show how desperate people can go in order to survive. Without improvement of their working and living conditions, more of these accidents are bound to be repeated in the future. Burn injuries are among the most difficult to treat in medical practice. (Photo Credits: Blue_fam; Reuters/ Ranoco,R) =0=

Campaign against firecrackers and fireworks

December 31, 2008

A counter-move against the merry tradition of bidding a noisy ending of the year, young students in Manila staged rallies against firecrackers. In a gathering spearheaded by EcoWaste foundation, environment-conscious students in Malate, brought attention to the dangers and polluting effects of firecrackers during the holiday.

In Negros Occidental and Cadiz City, an estimated P300,000 and P100,000 worth of illegal pyrotechnic devices respectively were confiscated by authorities. Similar operations where conducted in various cities all over the country as the new year draws near.

Although the Department of Health (DOH) has made headway in discouraging the use of firecrackers with the use of explicit anti-firecracker ads, hospitals in the country are in “Code White Alert” in anticipation for more people who might need medical attention. More than a hundred injuries have been reported including at least three directly inflicted by gunfire.

The argument against the firecrackers and indiscriminate gunfire at this time is easy to understand, but annually, Filipinos needed to be reminded of the risks and perils. Students and concerned Filipinos standing against firecrackers are helpful in getting this message across. (Photo Credit: Malaya/ Philip Duquiatan) =0=

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Firecrackers to rid us of bad luck of the past year

December 29, 2008

There is urgency in the young man who works fast at a deadline. He is one of the fire-cracker makers in one of the busy pyrotechnics hub in Bulacan from where many fireworks on the streets come from. Dirtied by gunpowder and grime, the man rushes firecracker production in his make-shift factory during the Christmas holiday, oblivious of the risks it poses on his life and on his neighbor.

Revelers this Christmas and new year seek to buy fireworks for their rowdy celebration. By our tradition, the bang and bright display are ways to mark the coming year —the Filipino merry-making which doubles as an occasion to ward off bad luck.

According to our folk beliefs detonating firecrackers is needed to invite life’s good forces on the first day of the year. Whether this is true or not, we are thrilled by the spark and sound of firecrackers. A fast buck can be gained by trading watusi, bawang, “belt of judas, and lolo when the demand is there.

Body injuries and burns are some of fireworks’ drawbacks. Eardrums have been ruptured by the loud blasts. Explosive debris have pierced the eyes. Houses have been gutted down and many mutilations and deaths have been reported. Last year, the Department of Health (DOH,) has listed about 750 fire-cracker injuries. Public hospitals are now on alert in anticipation for those who may be brought to the emergency rooms.

As of December 21, 2008, it was reported that of the 119 holiday-related injuries documented, 115 were from firecrackers and fireworks,, 3 were gunshot wounds and 1 from ingestion of watusi.

There is obviously a need to regulate the use of pyrotechnics for the protection of the public. Shoddy manufacture of firecrackers brings problems of safety, giving a boost to the sale of the ones imported abroad. There’s little implementation of laws—even gunfires and pistol shots are recklessly substituted for fireworks at the height of celebration. Though most of us know the dangers, the relentless campaign for the safe use of fireworks during holidays remains a job in progress.(Photo Credits: _gem_s; Reuters/ Ranoco, Romeo; Reuters/Ranoco, Romeo; persesverando)=0=

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At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India

November 27, 2008

The fire rages in Taj Mahal and Oberoi, the two luxury hotels attacked by terrorists. The dead and wounded are at least 82 and 200 respectively and the numbers are expected to rise. There are reports that about 40 westerners mostly British and Americans are feared to have been seized as hostages by an obscure militant Islamic group called Decca Mujahideen.

It isn’t ascertained how many are stuck in the hotels. The number of hostages and their identities are not known at this time. Six (6) terrorists have been killed so far. The number of those injured may reach 700.

The bloody attacks have been carried out simultaneously in at least 7 different sites including places like the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, Leopold restaurant, Cama, Albless, and G.T. Hospitals.

David Miliband, Britain’s foreign secretary strongly condemning the violence asserted, “Today’s attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists.” Similar condemnation came from White House spokesman Tony Fratto who said, “We condemn these attacks and the loss of innocent life.”—AP (11/27/08, Badam, RT

Although the motive of the senseless carnage which occurred on Wednesday night on November 26, 2008 isn’t known, the world can just watch in horror the barbarity of terrorist groups who prey on the innocents to gain attention and advance their warped agenda for the world. As of this writing, guns are fired and bombs are detonated without clear end. This violent incident makes the fight against terror unrelenting—ever more real today and in the future.


Cascade of Terrorist Attacks in India Killing Scores of Innocent People (Source: IBN Live, 11/27/08)

• Mumbai, Nov 26, 2008: Several killed and many more injured in seven terror attacks targetting mostly foreigners’ hangout places.
•Assam, Oct 30, 2008: At least 45 killed (figure can change) and over 100 injured in 18 terror bombings across Assam.
• Imphal, Oct 21, 2008: 17 killed in a powerful blast near Manipur Police Commando complex.
• Kanpur, Oct 14, 2008: Eight people injured after bomb planted on a rented bicycle went off Colonelganj market.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 29, 2008: Five people died after a bomb kept in a motorbike went off in a crowded market.
• Modasa, Gujarat, Sep 29 2008: One killed and several injured after a low-intensity bomb kept on a motorcycle went off near a mosque.
• New Delhi, Sep 27, 2008: Three people killed after a crude bomb was thrown in a busy market in Mehrauli.
• New Delhi, Sep 13, 2008: 26 people killed in six blasts across the city.
• Ahmedabad, July 26, 2008: 57 people killed after 20-odd synchronised bombs went off within less than two hours.

• Bangalore, July 25, 2008: One person killed in a low-intensity bomb explosion.
• Jaipur, May 13, 2008: 68 people killed in serial bombings.
• Hyderabad, Aug 25, 2007: 42 people killed in two blasts, at a popular eatery and a public park.
• Samjhauta Express, Feb 19, 2007: 66 people killed after two firebombs went off on the India-Pakistan friendship train.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 8, 2006: 40 people killed in two blasts.
• Mumbai, July 11, 2006: 209 people killed in seven blasts on suburban trains and stations.
• Varanasi, March 7, 2006: 21 people killed in three blasts including one at a temple and another at a railway station.
• New Delhi, Oct 29, 2005: 61 people killed in three blasts on the eve of Diwali.
• Mumbai, Aug 25, 2003: 46 people killed in two blasts including one near the Gateway of India.
• Gandhinagar, Sep 24, 2002: 34 people killed in the attack on the Akshardham temple. (Photo Credits: AP/GautamSingh; AP/GautamSingh; Reuters/ArkoDatta; AFP; AFP/IndraniMukherjee; AP/GautamSingh) =0=

UPDATE: The rising death toll and number of people injured are as follows: November 26, 2008 10:40 PM (Eastern US Time) Death toll—101; AP November 27, 2008 8:41 PM—104 dead; 314 wounded.

A time to build, a time to heal—a poignant account of the fire damage in Naga

November 20, 2008

by Acela Badiola-Bretan

From Leni Robredo, here are the pictures from the Naga City Fire. According to Leni, the city’s priority is to assist the stallholders so they could start selling their goods again ASAP. But most of the stallholders were small-time entrepreneurs and none of them had their goods insured.”—Melyn Lucido, CSI’81

When I asked the vendors how long they will be back, nobody can give a definite answer. Looking at their faces, I experienced a surge of emotions. I was happy to know that they are still able to sell and earn a living for their children and family. At the same time I felt sad because they have to endure harsh conditions and nobody’s sure for how long this will last.”—Dusktildawn (UP Ibalon Blog, 11/17/08)

It’s no wonder why Naga sorely misses the market that has been razed by fire. Many ask how long it will take the government to restore the place to its original ambience. As one can imagine, the supermarket is truly the heart of a vibrant city where businesses flourish and the soul of the people dwells.”—Pitoy Moreno (UP Ibalon Blog, 11/15/08)

Iyo baga…Alms. Si Sherry Guerrero may Botica Lexar. Ang tugang ni Melyn igwa man 24 K pawnshop sa first floor. Napa-ngiturugan ko ngani ang supermarket several weeks ago ta dati akong alalay ni mama pag nagsasaod. Ang price ko kan pagbitbit kang sinaudan kadto iyo an mag snack duman sa kanto kan saodan na igwa nin mga turu-turo na loglog.”—Bingbing Badiola, CSI’81.

The first floor of the supermarket was spared, dai man nasulo. Si 2nd and 3rd floors ang nasulo… Nakasalvar si botica ni Sherry and pawn shop ni Tita Belits. Ang aram ko si Felo may meat store sa 3rd floor… Mapungaw, ta crisis na ngani, nangyari pa ining sulo na ini..” –Nenette Abrigo, CSI’81

Aram na baga what started the fire? Was the entire 2nd and 3rd floor razed down? Sinabihan ako kan sobrino ko kan Friday mismo na state of calamity ngani daa kamo dyan. Hope everything would turn out okay ta harani na baga ang holidays, herak man ang mga na-displace…”—Aleta Gehrke. CSI’81. (Photo Credits: Leni Robredo)

NOTE: The fire that gutted the Naga Supermarket happened on Thursday, November 7, 2008 after a province-wide black-out. It was theorized that an unattended candle ignited the blaze. =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Naga Public Market (Supermarket) Burns Down” Posted by myty555 at 11/07/2008; “Huge Loss in Naga Supermarket Fire” Posted by mesiamd at 11/09/2008;”Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors” Posted by mesiamd at 11/07/2008; “Feeling the loss of Maogmang Lugar’s market fire”
Posted by mesiamd at 11/15/2008.

In the Aftermath of the Naga Public Market Fire

November 17, 2008


I was in Naga City last Saturday and instinctively I headed for the burned supermarket that prominently figured in the local and national news recently. I knew the location as well as the market’s general lay-out having visited it or passed around it several times in the past. I was curious on the extent of the damage and how things are different now. Knapsack and camera in tow, I just walked my way towards the market oblivious to the slight drizzle and the sky that is turning dark. I could have easily taken a jeepney or tricycle but there is something about walking the streets of familiar and not-so-familiar places that fascinates me. The few pesos that I would save wouldn’t hurt as recession lurks just behind the corner.

The first thing that caught my attention was the blackened 2nd floor and the crowd of vendors that occupies the street beneath it. The traffic was beginning to build up as tricycles and jeepneys slow down trying to avoid the various obstacles that used to be minimal in the past. Looking at the market from end to end, I realized it’s really huge occupying two big blocks.


The fire that destroyed the Naga Public Market has displaced hundreds of vendors that used to occupy the 2nd and 3rd floors. They are mostly those occupying stalls in the wet market selling meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. They now occupy both sides of J. Hernandez street housed in makeshift tents selling their wares. Both the vendors and the buyers are exposed to the sun and the rain with only their flimsy trapal and umbrellas to protect them. They are also exposed to the carbon monoxide and pollution that are ever present in the street as jeepneys, tricycles and other motorized vehicles inch their way through the narrowed and crowded streets made worse by the rain.


When I asked the vendors how long they will be back to their previous stalls, nobody can give a definite answer. Looking at their faces, I experienced a surge of emotions. I was happy to know that they are still able to sell and earn a living for their children and family. At the same time I felt sad because they have to endure harsh conditions and nobody’s sure for how long this will last. These are simple people with simple dreams, honest and hardworking who deserve every hard-earned peso they earn. I felt great admiration for them but words weren’t coming out.


Those occupying the ground floor of the supermarket were not as affected. It’s business as usual for them except for the fact that they now have to share their frontage with the hordes of displaced vendors that are also trying to make a living in the aftermath of the tragedy. A significant portion of the second floor housing ukay-ukay stalls was spared from the fire. In the inner portions of the ground floor, the beauty and barber shops are still intact. I did not find those barbers whom I used to play chess with many years ago. I wasn’t even sure if they are still there or if I can remember their faces. The row of carinderias still serve snacks and meals, each one trying to entice customers to try out their menus. After a light snack I exited through the rows of stalls selling clothes, dropped by the newsstand and bought a copy of my favorite local newspaper. I used to browse the headlines in this particular newsstand and somehow it felt reassuring that they are still there.


With the commitment of several high ranking Bicolano government officials to reconstruct the damaged Supermarket, I’m optimistic that in no time the Maogmang Lugar public market with its myriad of native attractions and local charm will be back to its feet and will continue to serve the people of Naga City and the surrounding towns as well as continue to fascinate simple travelers like me.

In the Aftermath of the Naga Public Market Fire

November 17, 2008


I was in Naga City last Saturday and instinctively I headed for the burned supermarket that prominently figured in the local and national news recently. I knew the location as well as the market’s general lay-out having visited it or passed around it several times in the past. I was curious on the extent of the damage and how things are different now. Knapsack and camera in tow, I just walked my way towards the market oblivious to the slight drizzle and the sky that is turning dark. I could have easily taken a jeepney or tricycle but there is something about walking the streets of familiar and not-so-familiar places that fascinates me. The few pesos that I would save wouldn’t hurt as recession lurks just behind the corner.

The first thing that caught my attention was the blackened 2nd floor and the crowd of vendors that occupies the street beneath it. The traffic was beginning to build up as tricycles and jeepneys slow down trying to avoid the various obstacles that used to be minimal in the past. Looking at the market from end to end, I realized it’s really huge occupying two big blocks.


The fire that destroyed the Naga Public Market has displaced hundreds of vendors that used to occupy the 2nd and 3rd floors. They are mostly those occupying stalls in the wet market selling meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. They now occupy both sides of J. Hernandez street housed in makeshift tents selling their wares. Both the vendors and the buyers are exposed to the sun and the rain with only their flimsy trapal and umbrellas to protect them. They are also exposed to the carbon monoxide and pollution that are ever present in the street as jeepneys, tricycles and other motorized vehicles inch their way through the narrowed and crowded streets made worse by the rain.


When I asked the vendors how long they will be back to their previous stalls, nobody can give a definite answer. Looking at their faces, I experienced a surge of emotions. I was happy to know that they are still able to sell and earn a living for their children and family. At the same time I felt sad because they have to endure harsh conditions and nobody’s sure for how long this will last. These are simple people with simple dreams, honest and hardworking who deserve every hard-earned peso they earn. I felt great admiration for them but words weren’t coming out.


Those occupying the ground floor of the supermarket were not as affected. It’s business as usual for them except for the fact that they now have to share their frontage with the hordes of displaced vendors that are also trying to make a living in the aftermath of the tragedy. A significant portion of the second floor housing ukay-ukay stalls was spared from the fire. In the inner portions of the ground floor, the beauty and barber shops are still intact. I did not find those barbers whom I used to play chess with many years ago. I wasn’t even sure if they are still there or if I can remember their faces. The row of carinderias still serve snacks and meals, each one trying to entice customers to try out their menus. After a light snack I exited through the rows of stalls selling clothes, dropped by the newsstand and bought a copy of my favorite local newspaper. I used to browse the headlines in this particular newsstand and somehow it felt reassuring that they are still there.


With the commitment of several high ranking Bicolano government officials to reconstruct the damaged Supermarket, I’m optimistic that in no time the Maogmang Lugar public market with its myriad of native attractions and local charm will be back to its feet and will continue to serve the people of Naga City and the surrounding towns as well as continue to fascinate simple travelers like me.

Feeling the loss of Maogmang Lugar’s market fire

November 14, 2008

by Pitoy Moreno

The big fire that gutted Naga City Supermarket has been quickly extinguished but the magnitude of the loss is incalculable. Those who shop in the market now find the vendors displaced, selling their goods in Igualdad and General Luna Streets. There is confusion— something that’s expected when a calamity gets into the lives of the people. For having a “super” market, Naga suffers a “super” loss.

Fondly referred to as “Satuyang Sa’od,” the Naga Supermarket was at one point the largest public market in Asia. It had been a source of pride of the Bicolanos. During its construction in the early 1970’s, the impressive concrete edifice rose with two large covered floors and an open roof deck, occupying two city blocks. The supermarket was one of its kind until the mega Malls became popular.

Two underpasses cross the belly of the building assuring easy mobility of pedestrians and tricyles. At the center, a spiral ramp was designed to allow wooden carts and vehicles to bring merchandise directly to the top. Huge stairways service the commercial edifice for the convenience of sellers and shoppers alike. Natural breeze aerates the sturdy building.

The supermarket is a major hub of activity in Naga City. At the break of dawn people flock to the place to start the busy day. Early “birds” in search for the proverbial “fat worm” are drawn in the commercial paradise where an eclectic mix of merchandise and service thrive. Off-school children and teenagers eager to earn cash help moms and pops tend their store. The market isn’t just a place to buy and sell, it’s also an interesting place where people congregate and socialize in Maogmang Lugar.

In specified sections of the supermarket, fresh fruits, organic vegetables, choice meat, and an array of farm harvests are sold hand-in-hand with locally made home furnishings and native products. There are carenderias, flower stores, beauty shops, and bakeries that keep business at fever pitch all throughout the seasons.

Known for its plebeian openness and domesticity, the supermarket is never short of exciting activity. Seafood are hauled from places like Calabanga, Pasacao, and Cabusao and sold in the market at mark down prices. Farmers from Pacol and Carolina bring baskets of balatong harvested from their gardens. Those from Panicuason and neighboring towns bring sacks of freshly harvested corn, talong, coconuts, and edible greens to the delight of shoppers. As far as Tinangis at the foot of Mount Isarog, they come with their fresh produce to sell. That’s why as a matter of habit, store-owners in the city and neighboring towns rely on the supermarket to keep their trade going.

Shoppers love the market for the tuyo, badi, tocino and longaniza they buy for their families, but it is also a place where they meet their friends and relatives. Pili sweets are mainstay favorites enjoyed by their visitors. Young and old, they enjoy the ukay-ukay and the ready-to-wear clothes stalls which sell copies of big name brands of fashionable apparels at low prices.

Newpapers and magazines are sold in the first floor. In the market’s upper levels, vendors offer familiar Bicolano foodstuffs— red hot sili, bawang, kangkong, petchay, sibulyas, laya, and kamatis. The tempting aroma of Bicol cuisine fills the air. Rows of eateries serve ice-cold fruit juices and halo-halo to banish the tropical heat of summer. Native calamay sweets, balisoso, dila-dila, and ibos are available for hungry shoppers. Puto, bokayo, latik, pinuyos and baduya never frustrate the taste of those who seek them in the market.

It’s no wonder why Naga sorely misses the market that has been razed by fire. Many ask how long it will take the government to restore the place to its original ambience. As one can imagine, the supermarket is the truly the heart of a vibrant city where businesses flourish and the soul of the people dwells. (Photo Credits: bingbing; hellochris; hellochris) =0=

Mayor Jess Robredo Meets Naga Fire Victims

In a gathering at the site of the fire that gutted the Naga Supermarket, Mayor Jesse Robredo explains to his constituents the measures he will take to tackle the problems that follow the displacement of vendors and shoppers of the market. According to Bicol Mail, an estimated P70 million worth of goods and property were lost. (Photo Credit: Bicol Mail, Movember 13, 2008)

RELATED BLOGS: “Naga Public Market (Supermarket) Burns Down” Posted by myty555 at 11/07/2008; “Huge Loss in Naga Supermarket Fire” Posted by mesiamd at 11/09/2008;”Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors” Posted by mesiamd at 11/07/2008

UPDATE: Inquirer (11/17/08, Escandor J.) Announced by Sen. Joker Arroyo and Budget Sec. Rolando Andaya, the national government will release P70 million to finance the reconstruction of the city’s three-story public market. Fire damage assessment was upped to P100 million from the earlier reported P70 million reported.

Huge Loss in Naga Supermarket Fire

November 9, 2008

by Fatima Edna Balaquiao

Last Friday evening, the Naga City supermarket was razed by fire particularly the 2nd and 3rd floors. Ninety-nine (99%) of the stores on the upper 2 floors were devastated. Rows of ukay-ukay stores (second-hand clothes sellers,) vegetables stalls, chicheria wholesalers, dried fish stalls, meat stalls were gobbled up by flames.

It’s almost December and market sellers are already on their way to stock-up for the Christmas holiday. It’s really sad seeing them now. They ply their trade on the side streets – sa gilid kan tinampo – specially the small-time vendors.

The local government has declared a state of calamity in Naga city. I don’t know when things will get back to normal, but probably it will take time. Haloy pa ini!. (Photo Credits: by kaveh; ToNo’World’s) =0=

RELATED BLOGS: “Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors
Posted by mesiamd at 11/07/2008; “Naga Public Market (Supermarket) Burns Down” Posted by myty555 at 11/07/2008

Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors

November 7, 2008


“The immediate question after the incident is where market vendors will ply their trade and where people can buy their daily needs. This morning the market vendors used Igualdad and Gen. Luna Streets as their makeshift market. But this is a problem that must be resolved very soon.”— UP Ibalon Bicol Blog (11/07/08, Myty)

It’s enlightening to read MyTy’s behind-the-scene account of the fire which destroyed Naga Supermaket, an iconic landmark at the center of city. The fire is believed to have been ignited by an unattended candle on Thursday evening, November 7, 2008 following a province-wide electrical power outage. Inquirer (11/07/08 Escandor, J)

Naga Mayor Jesse Robredo said the conflagration started at about 11:30 PM in the fish section of the building and spread to the third floor. With the help of firemen from the city, neighboring towns, and some coming from as far as Tabaco, Albay, the fire was put under control at about 5 AM.

The total damage to property had so far not yet been ascertained, but it could run in the millions. This augurs badly for the small vendors who rely on their livelihood now by selling on the streets of Gen. Luna and Igualdad. (Photo Credit: uberdoog; richiejoe2) =0=