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Fire hits Brother Mike’s commercial property

/ 05:40 AM January 14, 2018

Firefighters battle the flames at the Velarde property in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City, on Saturday.—CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A fire damaged a commercial building owned by televangelist Mike Velarde in Parañaque City early Saturday morning.

A report reaching Supt. Robert Pasis, head of the city’s Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) office, said the fire started around 1 a.m. at a grocery store inside Amvel City Compound in Barangay San Dionisio.

It reached the fifth alarm and was declared out at 8:23 a.m.

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There were no reported injuries in the fire that, based on BFP estimates, caused damage to property worth P2 million.

Insp. Wilson Tana, arson investigation chief, said about 70 percent of the building was destroyed.

Aside from the grocery, the structure is rented by tenants running private offices and a canteen, Velarde said in a radio interview.

It also houses a food court, a water refilling station, and electronics and accessories stores.

Velarde, founder of the religious group El Shaddai and owner of real estate development and broadcasting companies, said he had earlier plans to demolish and replace the 10-year-old structure to maximize the use of the lot where it now stands and use it for a call center company.

“(Buildings of) up to five stories are allowed here,” he said.

Adjacent to the building is an open area where El Shaddai followers hold their worship services.

Velarde said the fire would not affect their activities.

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“That will not be the case because they are really separate areas. Before, there were vendors entering the worship area. So I constructed a building for them since they were interrupting the fellowship activities. So now the vendors can temporarily (set up stalls) outside,” he said.

Shop owners renting space in the building are members of a cooperative, according to a report by Radyo Inquirer.

Quoting Velarde, the report said the damaged goods alone could already be worth  P10 million while the cost of the structural damage could go up to P40 million.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation at press time.

Pasis noted the absence of a water sprinkler system in the building, for which the owner could be held liable.

Velarde has yet to comment on such findings by the BFP.

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