LUCENA CITY, Philippines—A fire of still unknown origin broke out at the public market in Sariaya, Quezon, at dusk Thursday, a municipal councilor said.
Councilor Alex Tolentino, citing market vendors, said the fire started around 5:30 p.m. at the dry goods section of the market located along the Maharlika Highway inside the town proper.
Tolentino said the fire had already destroyed almost half of the market as of 6:64 p.m. as firemen from Lucena City and nearby municipalities were having a hard time putting off the blaze.
Senior Supt. Valeriano de Leon, Quezon police chief, said he immediately dispatched lawmen to the fire scene to help protect the market and nearby residents from looters.
The fire has paralyzed the movement of motorists along the Maharlika Highway resulting in long lines of stranded vehicles.