5 victims had been locked in

5 victims had been locked in

Eight women died in Manila yesterday as a fire engulfed a building where the women had been locked in by their employer, police said.

The women survived the blaze by climbing to the roof of the two-storey building and jumping off, said police officer Cris Gabutin, an investigator in the case.

"They said the gate was locked. It was dark and they could not find a way out. It was a lucky thing they were able to get out to the roof and jump," Mr Gabutin told AFP.

The bodies of the eight victims were found sprawled in one room, Mr Gabutin said.

"It was like they were trapped. Maybe they panicked and could not find their way out," he said.

He said that six of the dead women identified so far were aged between 19 and 24.

Mr Jayvee Arizapa, a neighbourhood watchman in the middle-class residential area where the fire occurred, said that neighbours saw the women leaping from the roof.

He said: "We could also hear people screaming for help inside, but we could not help them because the wall was too high."

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