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  • 25 December 2012, 12:41

Manila Christmas Eve Fires Tear Through Slum

At least eight people have been killed and thousands more left homeless after two fires broke out in Manila in the Philippines.

One of the blazes sparked a riot in a slum with emergency workers being showered with rocks as they drove in to help people.

Firemarshall Santiago Laguna said the clashes left one man dead and two suspected rioters were arrested.

"They (residents) started grabbing hoses from our firefighters, who could not do anything as they feared for their own safety," Mr Laguna said.

He said a man was beaten up and later died from his injuries as the blaze consumed the shantytown in the San Juan district. Arson is believed to be the cause of the blaze.

Mr Laguna said residents were apparently angered by the delayed arrival of firefighters. The emergency workers could not get their fire trucks through narrow streets jammed with parked vehicles.

The shantytown blaze left some 2,000 families homeless, Mr Laguna said, adding that equated to around 8,000 people without a roof over their heads at Christmas.

In the separate fire seven charred bodies, all believed to be from one household, were recovered after one of the fires ripped through a row of old apartments in northern Manila.

"They are all believed to be from a family that owned the apartment row and lived in one of the units where the fire was suspected to have started," fire officer Francisco Mabunga added.

The cause of that blaze, which broke out as the metropolis of 14 million people held Christmas Eve parties that lasted until dawn, is under investigation, officials said.

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