Ozone Disco Fire Kills 150 in Manila,
The death toll in the tragic Manila disco fire has risen
to at least 150. Survivors from the worst nightclub fire
since a blaze killed 164 people in Southgate,
Kentucky, in 1977 said that they saw electric sparks
and smoke just before the lights in the building went out.
When the people inside of the disco realized that there
was a fire and that there was only one way out -- they panicked.
A stampede soon ensued.
The heat from the blaze was so intense that many bodies
were reported to be charred and fused together. Manila police
said that Identification of many of the victims is said
to be very difficult, due to the extent of their injuries.
Many of those killed may have been trampled in a rush to
the exits as late recognition of the fire occured.
When the fire broke out at a little past midnight, the
club was packed with about 350 young people. Most were college
or high-school students celebrating the end of the school
year. The club once had a fire exit, but that was said to
be blocked by a new building next door to the disco. Firefighters,
after knocking down the blaze, reported that bodies were
piled waist-deep and that many of the victims were trampled
to death by a stampede to get out of the burning building.
One female survivor described the scene, "We saw smoke
and tried to run outside, but were caught in a stampede.
I was stepped on, but managed to force my way out."
Another survivor said, "Suddenly the lights went out.
I thought it was a gimmick, but then suddenly somebody shouted
'Fire!' All I can remember is that there was panic... and
a lot of pushing and shoving"
Cause of the fire has not been officially determined, but
there has been reports that a fuel tank in the kitchen may
have exploded. Some of the survivors said that it appeared
that the blaze began as an electrical short in a disc jockey's
Manila hospitals were reportedly overwhelmed by the number
of injured victims; many that were brought in with second
and third-degree burns and smoke inhalation injuries. Others
had suffered broken bones as the result of being stepped
on. Several victims are reported to be in extremely critical
condition and doctors say that the death toll may continue
to rise as
Police and fire officials said an intensive investigation
was underway to ascertain the actual cause of the fire.
One investigator told ENN that the possibility of "sabotage"
or arson has not been ruled out, and that "all possible
causes" would be given "due consideration."