Divisoria fire now under control

Posted at 12/24/12 7:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - (3rd UPDATE) The massive fire at a three-storey building at the corner of M. Delos Santos and Tabaro Street in Divisoria, Manila is now under control. After more than twelve hours, however, firefighters have yet to declare a "fire out”.

The Sun Master Building caught fire at around 12:30 a.m. Monday and was only controlled by firefighters at around 10 a.m.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) raised the alarm to Task Force Bravo around 2 a.m., and further raised the alarm to Task Force Charlie at 5:45 a.m.

Firefighters are still conducting clearing operations in the vicinity, but said they have already tamed the fire.

Arson investigator Lors Hernandez approximates that the cause of fire was due to an electrical glitch in a nearby lamp post, which sparked a few minutes after midnight.

The building, owned by a certain Lucio Co, had stalls selling plastics, toys, school supplies and firecrackers, which contributed to the quick spread of the fire.

The fire spread across the makeshift stalls set-up along the street for the Christmas eve bazaar. Stalls selling fruits, vegetables, horns or torotot, were affected.

A stall also selling firecrackers and fireworks was also hit by the fire, triggering an accidental display in the area, which alarmed shop owners as firecrackers began heading toward their direction.

First aid was administered to two people who suffocated from the fire. The damage from the fire has already reached an estimated P10 million.

Firefighters had a difficult time putting out the fire as the doors were bolted when the blaze started. Moreover, the street leading to the building was filled with ambulant vendors, further hampering the firefighters.

The fire was a huge blow to the building’s tenants, especially as it occurred on Christmas Eve.

“Mahirap po ang negosyo this year, tapos nasunugan pa sa bisperas ng Pasko,” said Mark Yung, a tenant in the building. “Sana lesson na po ito na wag na tayong magtinda ng paputok para hindi na tayo makaperwisyo.” -- with reports from Jerome Lantin, ABS-CBN News; DZMM; ANC