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At least 15 dead in QC home biz blaze

At least 15 people were killed, including a minor, after a fire broke out inside a house that was being used as a commercial establishment within a subdivision in Quezon City Thursday morning.

Mayor Joy Belmonte ordered city legal officer Orlando Casimiro to file appropriate charges against the four living incorporators of MJC Warehouse Inc. on Kennedy Lane, Pleasant View Subdivision in Barangay Tandang Sora for violation of the labor law and fire safety code.

“The MJC Warehouse Inc. is a family corporation with four members still alive. They are liable,” Belmonte said.

FATAL FIRE. Officers of the Bureau of Fire Protection and Quezon City DRRMO recover the body of one of at least 15 persons who died in a fire at Gloria Avenue in Barangay Tandang Sora on Thursday morning. Manny Palmero

“The owner, one Michael J. Cavilte, his wife, as well as his niece and her child died in the fire,” she added.

Casimiro said the incorporators “can be charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.”

Quezon City Fire Department chief Aristotle Bañaga said one of the three survivors claimed some victims were not able to jump out from the second floor because the rest of the windows had grills.

He said most of the victims were stay-in workers who could have been sleeping at the time the fire broke out.

The fire started at 5:30 a.m. at the owner’s 200-square-meter residential unit that was turned into a warehouse for t-shirt printing and manufacturing.

Chief Supt. Nahum Tarroza, BFP-National Capital Region fire marshal, said the chemicals used for t-shirt printing could have caused the fire to spread rapidly.

“When the first responders arrived, the house was totally engulfed by fire. If you’ve seen our pictures, it’s really gone. The chemicals of the paint and the fabrics contributed to the fire,” Tarroza said.

He said the shop only had a barangay permit, which was secured only this August.

It also did not have other necessary permits, such as a business permit and a mayor’s permit.

The city government will be extending burial and financial aid, scholarship, and job or livelihood opportunities to the victims’ immediate relatives, Belmonte said.

The mayor, however, appealed to the public to stay vigilant and immediately report any suspicious business operations within a residential area.

“We need the help of the general public. That place is a private village where there is a homeowners’ association,” Belmonte said.

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