Death toll from Philippines factory fire rises to 72

A city official said 26 workers were still missing.

Philippine firemen try to put out a fire after it gutted a footwear factory in suburban Manila on May 13, 2015. Picture: AFP.

MANILA - The death toll from a fire that gutted a rubber slipper factory in the Philippine capital, Manila, has risen to 72, with 26 workers still missing, a city official said on Thursday.

Rexlon Gatchalian, mayor of Valenzuela city in Manila, said he was hoping some of the missing workers, most of whom were trapped by flames and thick black smoke, had managed to escape Wednesday's fire.

"We're still hoping that the number of missing, 26, will still go down," Gatchalian said.

The two-storey factory is owned by Kentex Manufacturing Inc, which makes flip-flops and slippers.