3rd team formed to probe church fire
NAGA CITY—Daet Bishop Gilbert Garcera formed his own fact-finding team to know the real cause of Wednesday’s fire that destroyed the 400-year-old Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol Church in Vinzons, Camarines Norte.
The bishop’s team would be the third investigating group organized to look into the fire that razed the church, built in 1611 by Franciscan priests.
Two other investigating teams had been formed by the municipal government of Vinzons and the provincial government of Camarines Norte.
Bishop Garcera quoted Fr. Francisco Regala, Vinzons parish priest, as saying faulty electrical wiring caused the fire.
“But I will wait for the official findings of the Bureau of Fire Protection,” the bishop told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday.
Garcera said he would talk with parishioners on New Year’s Day amid still unverified reports that the fire was not accidental.
“I have heard only the side of [Regala]. He’s the one that keeps on talking. I want to know what the people have to say,” said the bishop.
“If the cause was faulty electrical wiring, then why had no one fixed it?” he said.
In a phone interview, Regala said he was not sure if the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring in the old convent.
He said he just woke up smelling something burning, only to discover flames at the old convent.
He said he immediately rushed to the fire station of Vinzons, which was just a few meters from the church, but the firemen came late. “I was disappointed by the response,” he said.