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BFP: Gutted Valenzuela factory may have had no fire safety clearance

The slipper factory and warehouse that was destroyed in a seven-hour blaze that killed more than 70 persons in Valenzuela last week appears to have no fire safety evaluation clearance form the Bureau of Fire Protection, GMA News reported on Tuesday.

"Initial investigation revealed na mukhang wala (fire safety evaluation clearance). The reason why the inter-agency task force was activated is to really verify this report," said BFP spokesman Renato Marcial in a text message.

According to a report on "24 Oras", investigation showed that there were two fire exits from the second floor of Kentex Manufacturing Corp.'s factory and warehouse in compliance with the country's fire regulations.

The problem, however, was that one of the exits actually led to a staircase leading to the ground floor premises instead of outside the building.

A source told GMA News that many bodies were found near this exit.

Kentex lawyer Atty. Renato Paraiso reiterated the company's stance that it followed all safety measures and labor laws required to have a working fire safety evaluation clearance.

"We work on the premise that we were issued safety compliance by the BFP. Kung hindi po siya standard, dapat sinabihan kami.... Nag-request na po kami as early as last Thursday ng certified true copies," Paraiso said.

Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said city hall was allowed to give provisional operating permits but added that the BFP didn't return to the local government to inform officials of fire safety violations. -Rie Takumi/NB/JST, GMA News