NEW YEAR’S DAY: Huge Fire Destroys Hundreds Of Philippine Shanties

A huge fire, sparked by firecrackers set off by children, razed hundreds of shanties in a creekside slum in metropolitan Manila Thursday in one of more than a dozen fires reported across the country as Filipinos welcomed the New Year, GMA News reported.

Firefighters struggled to get near the burning shanties because of narrow alleys.

“It’s really a tragic way to welcome the New Year,” a village official said.

A huge fire has engulfed a number of houses in Barangay Apolonio Samson in Balintawak, Quezon City on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. © GMA Network

Residents struggled to save anything they could from the fire, including pet cats and dogs, with many using improvised floating devices to cross a murky river to escape from the fire.

Firefighters from every fire station in Metro Manila train their hoses on the fire in efforts to put it out. Initial investigation by the Bureau of Fire Protection revealed a kwitis that entered a shanty may have triggered the ongoing fire that has reached general alarm.

The BFP has requested the Philippine Air Force to send aerial reinforcements to help stop the raging fire.

Firefighters said hundreds of small shanties were destroyed, displacing thousands of poor families.