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Five dead, 38 injured in Philippines firecracker depot blast

MANILA: Five people, including a four-year-old child, were killed in a massive explosion at a pyrotechnics warehouse in the southern Philippines, emergency services said on Sunday (Jun 30).

The Saturday afternoon blast at the Zamboanga City site tore a large hole in the ground, sent debris careening into nearby buildings and houses and ignited a blaze, fire investigator Luigi Chan told AFP.

Four warehouse workers and the four-year-old son of one of the staffers were killed, Chan said.

The city disaster office confirmed the death toll and said another 38 people had been injured in the incident, eight of them seriously.

Authorities said they are investigating the cause of the explosion, which created a 20m crater, dismantled the depot's walls and rained rubble on a nearby soft drinks factory, a grains and flour warehouse and area homes.

«The most probable origin of the fire is the pyrotechnics stored at the warehouse,» Chan told AFP.

He said the blast radius extended more than 3,000 sq m and it took firefighters more than two hours to bring the blaze under control.