Fiery Christmas Eve in Manila, PasigBy Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
’Twas the day before Christmas, when firemen got busy in the metropolis.
In Manila, a stack of firecrackers went off and triggered a 10-hour inferno on Monday that razed three commercial buildings that housed two banks and several stores. A second fire in Manila damaged a residential building.
The day’s third blaze, this time in Pasig City, left 15 families homeless.
At least three people, including a firefighter, were injured in the fire that started at 801 Building on Tabora corner M. de Santos streets, in Manila, near the New Divisoria Mall around 12:30 a.m. Monday.
The blaze spread to the neighboring Ongsiako and Sun Master commercial buildings before firemen declared it under control around 10 a.m.
The three buildings housed the local branches of Asia United Bank and PSBank, as well as stockrooms and shops that sell toys, school supplies and party needs.
Chief Inspector Romeo Odrada, deputy chief of the Manila Police District’s Binondo station, said the fire was traced to the boxes containing firecrackers that were stacked and covered with a sheet of tarpaulin right beside 801 Building.
Citing initial reports from the fire department, Obrada said a lighted cigarette butt or sparks from a faulty electrical installation may have lit up the firecrackers.
At one point, residents and merchants rushing to save their belongings toppled boxes full of fruits and turned a stretch of M. De Santos Street into a river of apples and oranges.
“This is terrible. It’s Christmas and yet we’re counting losses instead of having fun,” Magdalena Sigayo, a sidewalk vendor whose inventory of native decorative items worth P300,000 went up in smoke.
Later on Monday, a second fire in Manila hit Building 5 of GSIS Metrohomes Phase I, a residential complex on Pureza Street, around 2:30 p.m.
Chief Inspector Crispo Diaz of the Bureau of Fire Protection said the 20-minute blaze affected five units on the fifth floor of Building 5.
No one was reported injured. Diaz estimated the damage to be around P200,000.
Before the fire broke out, tenants noticed sparks coming from an electrical wire at the corner unit on the fifth floor, residents told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
In Pasig, the city fire department said that at least five houses shared by 15 families burned down inside Alvarez Compound on Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue in Barangay Maybunga at around 3:45 a.m. on Monday.
The blaze reached second alarm before firefighters declared the fire out an hour later. No one was reported killed or injured. With a report from Nathaniel R. Melican