3,000 families homeless after fire

Dec. 23, 2009 at 9:41 AM
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MANILA, Philippines, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Firefighters in the Philippine cities of Makati and Pasay put out a blaze that gutted 700 houses and left more than 3,000 families homeless, officials said.

The fast-moving fire began Tuesday and was extinguished Wednesday, after it raged through a shanty town in Pasay forcing hundreds of families to seek temporary quarters, GMANews reported.

Makati and Pasay share a common border and are part of metropolitan Manila.

Investigators said their initial findings indicated the fire started in a house on a crowded street in the village of Bangkal, also in metro Manila. The blaze may have originated from an unattended cook stove, officials told the broadcaster.

Bangkal's narrow streets made reaching the fire difficult, officials said.

A radio report said an unidentified woman was hospitalized after being overcome by smoke.

Authorities said they arrested a man who was caught stealing wallets from residents who rushed into the streets as the fire raged.

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