Tutuban Mall blaze tests firefighters’ mettlePhilippine Daily Inquirer
A fire of still undetermined origin broke out shortly after midnight Wednesday in the Cluster 1 Building of Tutuban Mall in Divisoria, Manila.
Senior Superintendent Felix Abrenica, Manila Fire Department chief, said the blaze began at 12:41 a.m. on Wednesday and had yet to be contained at press time, prompting fire officials to raise the alarm level to Task Force Charlie.
He explained that this meant that more fire trucks were needed to put out the blaze.
According to Abrenica, the fire broke out on the ground floor of the building which is packed with stores selling textiles before the flames spread to the second floor.
He said firefighters were having a hard time putting out the fire because the smoke from the burnt textiles was so thick, making it difficult for them to breathe.
As a result, firemen have resorted to wearing breathing equipment before entering the building.
Abrenica added that unaffected areas of the building have been sprayed with cold water mixed with a type of chemical to slow down the spread of the fire.
According to him, they were forced to borrow a water tanker that could carry 5,000 gallons compared to the standard fire truck which has a capacity of only 1,000 gallons.
“We are already using a high capacity water tanker and yet it’s not enough, we need more,” Abrenica told the Inquirer.
As for determining the cause of the fire, he said: “We will put out the fire [first] and ensure it will not spread to other buildings, that’s the priority now.” Nancy C. Carvajal