By Anthony Giron
General Trias City, Cavite – More than 100 workers were injured, 40 of them seriously, when a fire, the biggest to hit the province in years razed the House Technology Industries (HTI) Pte. Ltd. factory inside the Cavite Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) compound here Wednesday night.
HTI is a Japanese manufacturing plant specializing in the assembly of prefabricated housing construction materials and production technologies at the EPZA compound which lies in the boundary of Rosario and Gen. Trias City.
Of the 40 workers who were seriously wounded, 10 sustained third degree burns and are said to be in critical condition. The victims whose names were withheld were rushed to the Divine Grace Medical Center and other hospitals in General Trias.
Chief Inspector Ariel C. Avilla, Gen. Trias fire marshal said that there was no trace of trapped victims in the burning building as of noon yesterday.
“It may take more hours or even a day to stop the fire due to the burning combustible materials in the building,” Avilla told Manila Bulletin.
Senior Superintendent Arthur Velsaco Bisnar, Cavite Police Provincial Office (PPO) director, citing a report of the Gen. Trias police and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Team, said about 104 workers were brought to hospitals as of midnight Wednesday. Most suffered from suffocation and were sent home after treatment.
Fire Officer 2 Willy T. Verdadero said the guard reported that workers were able to get out of the burning building which reached Task Force Delta. But the injured workers belied the guard’s claim. There were workers reportedly in the building when the fire started.
HTI employs about 6,000 employees working on day and night shifts.
Initial investigation showed that the fire started at the factory’s second floor where an explosion and power failure occurred. This caused the workers to panic.
Avilla, citing initial investigation surmised the cause of the fire was likely faulty electrical wiring.
Governor Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, his younger brother, former Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla and other members of the crisis management committee, including Bisnar, were monitoring closely the fire incident and the condition of the victims.
The provincial government and the firm’s management said they would render assistance to the fire victims. (With a report from PNA)