Four killed, 19 trapped in Philippine hotel fire
Four people were killed and 19 feared trapped by a major hotel fire in the Philippine capital Manila on Sunday, with others plucked from the rooftop by helicopter, authorities said.
The blaze at the Waterfront Manila Pavilion, a hotel and casino complex, was still raging six hours after it began on Sunday morning, prompting more than 300 people to flee the area and six to be brought to hospital, fire and city officials said.
Of the four who died, two were identified as hotel employees, said Manila city's disaster risk reduction chief, Johnny Yu.
"The two are a security guard and a treasury officer. They were likely trapped, suffered from suffocation and were brought to the hospital but declared dead on arrival," Yu told reporters, adding 19 were missing.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the fire, which is believed to have begun in the casino or mezzanine area of the 21-floor hotel which regularly hosted both locals and foreigners, Yu added.
Responders sent a helicopter to rescue people trapped on the rooftop and officials launched a ground operation to get the others out.
Manila is one of 16 cities making up Metro Manila. Nearby cities were helping put out the blaze, Manila's fire department said.
"This is a major fire. There were those who inhaled the smoke and were brought to the hospital," senior fire officer Marlon Banaag told AFP.
Deadly blazes break out regularly in the Philippines, particularly in slum areas where there are virtually no safety standards.
The deadliest in recent years was in suburban Manila where 72 people died in 2015 at a factory which makes rubber slippers.
In the southern city of Davao, 38 people were killed in December 2017 by a fire that ravaged a shopping mall and a call centre.