Muntinlupa Fire Station probers said the fire started at 4:10 a.m. from the second floor of a house owned by a certain Purificacion in Carmina Compound on East Service Road, Cupang.
The fire spread quickly to the adjacent Bunyi Compound also in Cupang. Johnny Alcantara, one of the residents of Bunyi Compound, said his house was completely burned down.
He said he was at work when the fire broke out. His wife was not able to save any belongings as she quickly got out of the house.
About 30 fire trucks, 30 volunteers, and 10 officials from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) responded to the scene.
The fire station said the fire reached Task Force India at 6:35 a.m. and was declared under control at 8:20 a.m. by Senior Supt. Pablito Cordeta, chief of the BFP Metro Manila, who went to the scene with Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro.
The city`s Social Services Department distributed food packs to the victims. The city government set up tents in a vacant lot in Cupang as temporary shelter for the families.
Firefighters put out the fire at 11:10 a.m. The fire snarled traffic on both lanes of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
Ivy Vital of the Manila Toll Expressway Systems, Inc. (Mates), the new operators of SLEX, said the influx of fire trucks in the area, as well as the thick smoke, stalled the flow of vehicles along the highway.
"The smoke is very dark and thick," said Vital, adding that vehicles on both lanes were forced to ground to a halt along Susana Heights.
Local residents also clogged the road along with their personal belongings that they saved from the fire.
Traffic was already moving along SLEX before noon but it was still turtle-paced, reports said.
Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Roderick Aguto, Muntinlupa fire marshal, assured that the city always has enough water supply for fire fighters, thanks to its "close working relationship" with the local government.