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Eight people killed in housing fire in the Philippines

MANILA (AFP) – Eight people died, including six children, when a fire ripped through a poor community in the Philippines capital of Manila on Monday and destroyed 80 houses, a fire official said.

Another three people were injured in the blaze which started at around 5am on the second floor of a house in a crowded, informal settlement inside the sprawling campus of the University of the Philippines.

It took nearly two hours to extinguish the inferno, Senior Fire Officer Greg Bichayda told AFP.

An investigation into the cause was under way.

The victims were trapped inside their homes as “the fire spread quickly”, Bichayda said.

Their ages are not yet known, but he said six were minors.

“The houses consist of light materials. When the fire broke out, people were shocked,” Bichayda said.

“Our station was just nearby but they weren’t able to call us immediately.”

Over 13 million people live in the densely populated capital, with tens of thousands in overcrowded slums where fires are common.

Many of the residents have fled rural poverty to live in Manila where there are more jobs.

The aftermath of a fire at an informal settlement inside the campus of the University of the Philippines. PHOTO: AFP