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15 dead as fire razes Zamboanga market

ZAMBOANGA CITY – At least 15 people were killed while several others were in critical condition after a fire razed the Zamboanga City Waterfront market early yesterday.

Two families from the 15 victims were wiped out by the 90-minute fire that burned down the entire section of the used clothing area, farm products section and a commercial building.

Zamboanga City Police spokesman Chief Inspector Joel Tuttuh identified the fatalities as 48-year-old Kayulan; Musal, 45; Radzhatta, 28; one year-old Bunay; three-year old Crissamae; five-year old Noynoy; nine-year old Nurais; and 10-year old Radzmer who are all members of the Hassidin family living in the area.

The other victims namely Abei, 40; Nurul-in, 39; Algabid, 20; Marilyn, 20; Binnas, 20 are all members of Salahuddin family and are residents of the place as well.

Also killed were 26-year-old Ruhilyn Hamis and one-year-old Jasper Hamis while seven of their relatives were able to escape the blaze by crawling through a manhole.

“Most of them were burned beyond recognition while the rest were suffocated due to thick smoke,” said Tuttuh in a telephone interview. ““We believe they were trapped because there is only one way out of the public market on that portion.”

Acting City Administrator Elmier Apolinario added that the place was said to be affected by power interruption at that time but sparks were seen immediately after power was restored.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco ordered Apolinario to extend all the needed assistance to the fire victims.

Climaco also advice Apolinario to extend the necessary respect to the family of those that were killed in accordance with their tradition in burying their departed ones. (Aaron b. Recuenco • Nonoy E. Lacson)