- A line leader at HTI was the first reported fatality in the EPZA fire
- He was hailed a hero for helping fellow workers escape fire
- The victim succumbed to severe burn injuries on Saturday evening
MANILA, Philippines – A line leader at the Housing Technology Industries (HTI) who reportedly helped many workers escaped the huge fire at Cavite Economic Zone last week has succumbed to injuries; becoming the first victim to die from the tragedy.
The fatality has been identified as Jerome Sismaet who was confined at Divine Grace Hospital since Wednesday night. He died around 11 pm on Saturday.
Sismaet’s death was confirmed by Governor Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla and Senior Superintendent Arthur Velasco Bisnar, director of the Cavite Police Provincial Office (CPPO).
“At 11:28 last night, Saturday, February 4, Jerome Sismaet of HTI died after suffering severe burn injuries from the fire that broke out Wednesday, February 1 at 6 p.m. Let us all pray for the repose of his soul and for his loved ones,” said a statement from Remulla.
Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) director general Charito Plaza said Sismaet helped many of his subordinates flee the raging inferno before escaping himself. Unfortunately, he sustained severe burn injuries which ultimately led to his demise.
“He is a hero, being one of the line leaders na tinulungan munang maka-evacuate ang mga kasama niya bago siya lumabas,” ABS-CBN News quoted Plaza as saying.
[He is a hero, being one of the line leaders who helped his fellow workers evacuate the place before escaping himself.]
Meanwhile, Remulla confirmed that the 3,189 employees who were expected to report to their work before the fire started have all been accounted for.
However, the Cavite governor did not discount the possibility that some dead bodies could be recovered from the burnt factory since there are reports that non-HTI employees went to the rescue of some of their friends.