Philippines firecracker depot blast leaves five dead and dozens injured

Five people, including a child, were killed following a massive firecracker depot blast in the Philippines on Saturday, according to emergency officials.

Another 38 people were injured in the incident, with eight of them in critical condition, officials added.

The blast reportedly happened around 4pm local time, creating a 20m-long crater in the ground and hurling debris into nearby buildings.

Officials said around 15 other structures were partially damaged during the incident, including a nearby soft drinks factory, several homes in the area, and a grain and flour warehouse.

Those killed in the explosion include four warehouse workers and the four-year-old son of a staff member.

The fire ignited by the blast at the Zamboanga City site took nearly two hours for firefighters to put out.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the explosion and suspect that stored fireworks at the warehouse may be the likely cause of the fire.

Damage caused by fireworks warehouse blast (City government of Zamboanga)Damage caused by fireworks warehouse blast (City government of Zamboanga)

Damage caused by fireworks warehouse blast (City government of Zamboanga)

The Philippine department of labour and employment (DOLE) announced it would investigate potential violations of occupational safety and health standards in the pyrotechnics warehouse following the massive explosion.

“I have given instruction to our DOLE regional director to immediately look into the incident and undertake an occupational health and safety investigation,” Philippine labour secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said.

Operations in another fireworks warehouse in Barangay Tetuan have also been suspended amid the ongoing investigation, according to the Philippines News Agency.

“The operation will be suspended to ensure the safety of the workers. It will only be lifted after needed safety measures have been put in place,” Mr Laguesma said.

Meanwhile, he said assistance would be provided to the affected workers.

“If workers are displaced, temporary emergency employment can be provided,” Mr Laguesma said.

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