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Written by: Staff

MANILA, Mar 24 (Reuters) A huge blaze destroyed about 1,500 shacks in a slum in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao overnight but there were no reports of any deaths or injuries, city and fire officials said today.

Nearly 5,000 people were left homeless after the seven-hour fire, sparked at about 6:30 P.M. (1030 GMT) by an unattended candle, ripped through the shanty town's narrow streets in the port of Zamboanga City.

''It was an inferno,'' Zamboanga City mayor Celso Lobregat told reporters, saying blocked streets and low water pressure failed to contain the flames from spreading quickly to houses made of light materials.

The slum's residents were evacuated and temporarily sheltered in state-run school buildings and public halls as the mayor appealed for food, clothes and relief materials for victims of the city's worst calamity.

Officials said the fire had destroyed property worth about $1 million, including some nearby businesses.


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