By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

FIRECRACKER BLAST. Authorities inspect the site where firecrackers for disposal exploded in Zone 2, Barangay Cabatangan, Zamboanga City on Monday (July 8, 2024). A total of 27 people, including 19 uniformed personnel, were hurt in the blast. (Photo courtesy Police Regional Office 9)

MANILA – A total of 27 persons, including 19 uniformed personnel, were wounded in an explosion of firecrackers that were for disposal in Zamboanga City on Monday afternoon.

In a report on Tuesday, the Zamboanga City Police Office said the victims consisted of eight civilians, six police officers, three Philippine Coast Guard members, five Bureau of Fire Protection personnel, and five members of the Philippine Marine Corps.

Of the 19 uniformed personnel, one is in critical condition while four were “severely wounded,” according to the report.

Meanwhile, the other victims sustained minor injuries and were all discharged from the hospital.

Initial investigation showed members of the Regional Explosive Canine Unit (RECU) 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) transported the firecrackers using a marked vehicle with plate number 092805 to the disposal site in Zone 2, Barangay Cabatangan, Zamboanga City.

RECU members were about to dispose of the firecrackers when these prematurely exploded at the site at about 5:35 p.m. on Monday.

The firecrackers were seized in the aftermath of an explosion in a pyrotechnic warehouse in the city’s Barangay Tetuan on June 29.

Responding personnel of the Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office provided the victims with first aid and brought to hospitals those hurt badly in the explosion. (PNA)