The death toll in a fire that destroyed a footwear factory in the Philippines rose to 72 as emergency workers retrieved charred bodies from the gutted building on Thursday.
The Interior Minister, Manuel Roxas, told newsmen after visiting the site of the fire in the Manila suburb of Valenzuela, that he was saddened by the accident.
“The only thing I can do for the victims and their families is to find out why this happened and prosecute those responsible.
“The number of workers inside the two-storey factory at the time could not yet be determined because the logbook was burned.
“There were reports that as many as 200 workers were employed by the factory but we are checking if all of them were around when the fire happened.
“If only half were there, that is 100 and we have only accounted for 76, including four survivors’’, Roxas said.
Valenzuela City Mayor, Rex Gatchalian said DNA tests would be conducted since most of the bodies were burned beyond recognition.
Investigators have also recovered watches, rings, mobile phones and other personal effects from the bodies to help identification.
“The local government and the owners of the factory will shoulder all expenses for the identification of the victims’’, Gatchalian said.
Police officers wearing face masks and helmets brought the recovered remains in body bags from the blackened building as other emergency workers slowly cleared debris and searched for the missing.

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