Dozens Feared Dead Following Factory Fire

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factory fireManila, Philippines -- A fire gutted a slipper factory in the Philippines today.  Dozens are feared dead.

It is believed that the fire ignited from sparks from a welder at the factory's main entrance.  The sparks triggered an explosion of chemicals and the fire quickly spread from the flammable materials within the building.

The fire ignited on the first floor, so many employees ran to the second floor to try and escape, but became trapped by toxic smoke and flames.  Sixty-five people are missing and presumed dead.

Only seven people escaped.

Three bodies have been removed from the building.  District Fire Marshal Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu said when he reached the second floor he found "numerous bodies" that were charred beyond recognition.

The Mayor addressed a crowd of relatives saying, "There might still be a chance." But, then he announced, "I was talking to the bureau of fire protection and they said no one in the building survived."

It took five hours for crews to control the fire.  The  building had to be evacuated because it became unstable, and the search for survivors ended.