P9-M lost in Cebu fire

1/27/10 - CEBU CITY – An old building adjacent to the main campus of the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR) in this city situated in P. Lopez Street corner Borromeo Street, along with at least three other business establishments in the area were destroyed by fire last Monday night in this city.

Initial investigation, according to Fire Marshall, Col. Ismael Codilla, pointed to some P9.2 million worth of property damaged as a result of said conflagration.
He added that the fire alarm reached their office at 8:52 p.m. and about an hour and 30 minutes later, they were able to put the situation under control.
Codilla said last night’s fire was only raised to third alarm as it was not able to destroy other nearby buildings like those within the USJR campus and other commercial establishments in the area.

In a separate follow up interview, Senior Fire Officer Allih Kasem Espinola said that they are still set to conduct an ocular inspection of the fire scene and gather debris for further investigation and to determine what caused the fire.

“We are also going to invite eyewitnessess like the building security guard Timoteo Unabia to help our investigation,” said Espinola.

Eyewitness Bea Roldan said the fire started following electrical sparks seen outside an Internet café where a number of students were believed to be in before the fire broke out.
Meanwhile, neither Codilla nor Espinola can confirm if the two women who were reportedly trapped inside the burned building was able to survive the fire.

In an interview last night, Codilla said that reports of trapped individuals were negative.
Among the establishments destroyed were an Internet café owned by a certain Pual Tan, RTW merchandise store owned by the Ongcitco Family and Victory Auto parts owned by couple,Victor and Helen Escalona.

In an interview last night, Mrs. Escalona said damage to their store is pegged at P30 to P35 million as they have just received new supplies last month.
Meanwhile, the fire, which razed four establishments in Cebu City last Monday night affected four establishments various items, including motor lubricants, wires, and auto parts.
Codilla said the blaze started in the building owned by Uy Teng Su. The fire immediately spread to other buildings before it was contained by firefighters.

Codilla said an electrical short circuit triggered the blaze that reached the third alarm.
P. Lopez and Borromeo Streets (along with Coron Street) are considered Cebu City’s old town with business activities concentrated in the area between the early 1950s to the 1980s.
(Manila Bulletin)

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