TWO persons died, 17 others were hurt and rushed to two nearby hospitals while two others were reported missing Sunday morning when fire of still undetermined origin broke out at the second floor of the Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino in Ermita, Manila.
Local authorities identified the fatalities as Jun Evangelista and Billy De Castro, both hotel employees. The two were declared dead on arrival at the Manila Doctors Hospital.
Unconfirmed reports also indicate that two operators of the hotel’s closed circuit television, Mark Sabido and Joe Cris Banang, are missing and believed to have succumbed to the thick smoke that engulfed the historic hotel, which opened in 1968 as the Manila Hilton.
Of those rushed to the hospitals, 13 were suffering from severe smoke inhalation while the remaining four are still in serious condition as of 3:30 pm.
Investigations disclosed that the fire struck the 22-storey hotel at the corner of United Nations and Ma. Orosa Street at about 9:30 a.m. The fire, which started at the hotel’s second floor which is being renovated, forced the evacuation of more than 300 hotel guests. Some of the guest had to be plucked from the rooftop by helicopters.
By noon the fire reached Task Force Bravo alarm. The narrow streets around the hotel, which is a busy tourist district of Manila, made it difficult for firemen to effectively respond to the fire.
Meanwhile, Johnny Yu, Manila Disaster Risk and Reduction Management (MDRRMO) director, said “Evangelista and De Castro were the first to spot the fire.”
“So na-trap sila at malamang na suffocate. Nailabas sila at nadala sa ospital pero DOA na,” Yu said.