7 killed in Olongapo hotel fire
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Seven people died after being trapped in a burning hotel in the red-light district of Olongapo City before dawn on Friday.
Alex Testado, Bureau of Fire Protection - Olongapo Safety Fire Marshal, initially reported six victims, composed of three male Americans, a male Korean and two Filipinas.
Later in the afternoon, a seventh fatality – a female, was reported. She has yet to be identified.
Authorities identified the three Americans as James Brigatti, Patrick Bert and Joseph Baluso. The Korean was Kyung Ok Kim, while one of the Filipinas was Rebecca Perez. The second Filipina remains unidentified.
Testado said the blaze began at the third floor of the Dryden Hotel, located in Barangay Barreto, at around 1 a.m. The fire was declared out at 6 a.m.
Fire officials have yet to determine the cause of the blaze.
Olongapo civil defense chief Angelito Layug, meanwhile, said the city has a fairly large population of retired American servicemen.
They settled in and around Olongapo after the US military pulled out of the nearby Subic Naval Base in 1991, Layug added.
Carlo Elepong, an aide to Layug, described one of the victims as a man in his 80s, but the authorities declined to release the guest list.
City fire investigator Jose Borlagdatan said the hotel was a small building with barred windows that was situated in a narrow street. – with reports from Jeff Gallos, dzMM; and Agence France-Presse