1 dead, 20 hurt as blasts hit fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan

BOCAUE, Bulacan — A still unidentified person was burned to death while at least 20 others were injured when a series of explosions rocked the rows of fireworks stalls along the Macarthur Highway in Barangay Biniang 1st here on Wednesday morning.

The series of blasts also damaged at least six vehicles along the stretch of the highway, according to initial police reports.

Police are still investigating if the vehicles were moving or were parked along the rows of the fireworks stalls.

The Bocaue police station said that the fatality was burned beyond recognition after a powerful blast rocked the Gina Gonzales Fireworks Store along the Macarthur Highway which triggered a series of explosions from nearby rows of fireworks stores in the said area.

Ramon Efren Lazaro, a newsman from this town, said most of the victims were brought to the nearby Dr. Yanga’s Emergency Hospital for treatment.

“Madami ang nasugatan kaya yung ibang biktima ay sa pasilyo na ginagawaran ng paunang lunas (There are many who sustained injuries. That’s why other victims were given first aid treatment along the corridor,” he said.

Acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that police are still investigating the cause of the explosion which according to witnesses emanated from the Gina Gonzales Fireworks store, a licensed dealer of fireworks and pyrotechnics devices in this town.

The Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc.(PPMDAI), said that most of the stores in Barangay Biniang 1st and in Barangay Turo have already complied with the safety training seminars being required by the PNP-Civil Security Group for stakeholders before they can be issued with license and permits to sell.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman Emeritus of PPMDAI, said that PPMDAI, together with the PNP-Civil Security Group, has been conducting the safety seminars all over the country and is a vital part of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) being enforced by the national police for local manufacturers and dealers before they can locally produce and sell fireworks products.

Most of the stores that were damaged by the explosions have been legally selling fireworks for more than 25 years, the PPMDAI official said.

It was also learned that most of the stall owners have already undergone the safety training seminars of the PPMDAI and the PNP-CSG.

Cruz said that in many instances, deadly and powerful explosions usually occurred in clandestine shops.

The PPMDAI said that this was the first major explosions to hit Bocaue in the past six years.

In 2008 and 2009, rows of fireworks stores in Barangay Turo were also rocked by powerful explosions that both happened on New Year’s Eve. Emil Gamos/PNA-northboundasia.com