Philippine authorities are blaming a defective electrical outlet for a massive fire that razed a squatters’ colony in Manila’s financial district and left about 8,000 people homeless.

Fire chief Ricardo Perdigon in Makati city says a tenant plugged in a cellphone charger and ran outside after sparks triggered a fire that spread quickly to other homes Tuesday in the congested community near the city’s main highway.

Mr. Perdigon said Wednesday that nine people suffered light burns and bruises in the inferno, which gutted the impoverished neighbourhood and left 1,600 families, or about 8,000 people, homeless.

The Makati social welfare office says those left homeless have been sheltered in a nearby seminary and a community hall.

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