UP Diliman Faculty Center fire extinguished
After 10 hours since it started before dawn Friday, the fire that razed the Faculty Center at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City was officially declared out at 11:25 a.m., with investigators ruling out speculations of arson.
Crisfo Diaz, regional director for operations of the Bureau of Fire Protection-National Capital Region, said the fire that started on the third floor of the three-storey building also known as the Bulwagang Rizal was possibly due to electrical causes.
Diaz said light materials inside the building, including papers, books and other documents could have contributed to the intensity of the blaze, which reached other floors.
“With regards to the building contents, sari-saring light materials made up of papers, mga books nila, records, lahat lahat na ‘yun. Siguro hindi napansin ng mga on duty na security guards, so ‘yun lumaki ‘yung chance ng apoy, na-develop siya na malakas ‘yung intensity agad,” Diaz said in an interview.
(With regards to the building contents, there were different light materials made up of papers, books and records. Perhaps the security guards on duty did not notice it so it could have contributed to the intensity of the fire.)
“Nung nagdevelop na ‘yung apoy, baka nadamay na ‘yung mga electrical site, o baka sa electrical site talaga nagsimula,” he added.
(When the fire intensified, it could have reached the electrical site or maybe the blaze started from the electrical site.)
Diaz also dismissed speculations of arson, which surfaced since it was the third fire that hit a building in the UP campus in less than a year.
“Walang matumbok na tao na arson ‘yung ginawang paraan para sunugin (There is no person we can point at if arson was indeed employed to set the building on fire), so what remains there is the presence of the power of electricity. So ‘yung ating mga investigators ngayon (So the investigators), they are trying to find out the specific cause,” he said.
Diaz also belied reports that the fire “rekindled” in the morning after being declared under control at 4:40 a.m., saying that the reported spark was a result of combustion caused by a “sudden mix of oxygen coming from the atmospheric air.”
“It’s not rekindling, it’s part of the process. Nagkaroon ng (There was a) complete combustion due to presence of fuel, heat and oxygen,” he said.
Diaz said one senior fire officer was injured from responding, while the structural damage was estimated at P3 million.
The fire that was first reported at 1:20 a.m. reached fifth alarm after about ten minutes and was raised to Task Force Alpha around 3 a.m. Task Force Alpha is a call code to send all firetrucks to the scene to put out the blaze.
The Rizal Hall or Bulwagang Rizal houses the department offices of the College of Arts and Letters, faculty rooms of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy and the UP Creative Writing Center.
In 2015, a fired also razed the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association (Casaa) food center in June and another fire hit the UP Alumni Center in July. RAM
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