Bocaue, Bulacan — Tragedy struck Barangay Bunducan in Bocaue, Bulacan as a fire broke out at an illegal firecracker warehouse early Thursday morning. The conflagration caused 18 people to sustain injuries and destroyed over 40 houses in the area. Reports from “24 Oras” revealed that the explosion occurred around 2 a.m., causing the windows of a nearby home to shatter and sending shockwaves throughout the neighborhood.

Despite the swift response of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the warehouse could not be saved, along with some vehicles within the vicinity. It was later discovered that the establishment did not have the necessary permit to store firecrackers, putting the lives and properties of nearby residents at risk.

The aftermath of the blaze was devastating, with 16 homes destroyed, leaving families homeless and without possessions. Meanwhile, the remaining houses were partially damaged, making it impossible for them to be inhabited until the necessary repairs have been made.

According to one of the victims, Brando Saligumba, the incident occurred around 2 a.m., with the first explosion followed by several more powerful ones after a few minutes. Saligumba recounted how he and his family were left lying on the ground amidst the rubble and debris caused by the blast.

Residents have shared that they were aware of the warehouse’s storage of firecrackers. However, Senior Inspector Earl Carlo Mariano, the Municipal Fire Marshal, clarified that the establishment did not have the necessary license to store explosives. Furthermore, he stated that these types of businesses are strictly prohibited from operating within residential areas.

The explosion in Bocaue, Bulacan has left many people displaced and with no means to rebuild their homes or purchase food. The BFP is currently investigating the cause of the blast and attempting to identify the owner of the warehouse. Those affected by the tragedy are appealing to local government and charitable organizations for help.

In response to the disaster, the local government has provided initial assistance such as food packs, while the barangay basketball court has been transformed into a temporary shelter for residents who lost their homes. It’s heartwarming to see the community come together in times of need, but this tragedy could have been prevented if proper safety measures and permits were in place.

Business owners must prioritize safety in their operations. Although it might seem like a hassle to obtain permits and comply with safety regulations, it can prevent accidents and loss of life. This event serves as a stark reminder that negligence can lead to devastating consequences.

As we continue to support and help those affected by the explosion, let’s not forget the importance of taking precautions to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. Let’s work together to ensure that safety is a top priority in all businesses and operations.