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Fallout from firecrackers in Philippines: 500 injured, homes gutted by fires, flights delayed

Rolex Dela Pena / EPA

Filipinos return to their burned homes to look for usable items after a pre-dawn fire in Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines, Jan. 1. One person died as Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) firefighting units responded to at least 12 fires of varying degrees in the National Capital Region starting in the early hours of the new year. At least three of the incidents were believed to be related to firecrackers amid ongoing New Year's Eve celebrations, the BFP said.

Aaron Favila / AP

A Filipino man carries a burned bicycle after houses caught fire on New Year's day, Jan. 1, in Manila, Philippines. The fire broke out shortly after and left about 100 families homeless.

AP reports:

Many Filipinos, largely influenced by Chinese tradition, believe that noisy New Year's celebrations drive away evil and misfortune. But they have carried that superstition to extremes, exploding huge firecrackers and firing guns to welcome the new year despite threats of arrest.

Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said at least 65 people were arrested for using illegally large firecrackers.

Read the full story.

Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images

An elevated highway in the financial district of Manila is enveloped by smog caused by pyrotechnics and firecrackers the morning after New Year's celebrations on January 1. Hundreds of Filipinos were injured by firecrackers and stray bullets while fires gutted homes in the capital as revellers celebrated the new year.