Probers check ‘human intervention’ in fire
CITY OF CALAPAN, Philippines–—Investigators are looking at “human intervention” behind a fire that razed two government offices in the city, including the provincial tourism office.
According to FO1 Anthony Micua, of the Bureau of Fire Protection in the city, footage from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras that were studied in the course of the investigation showed that the fire might not have been caused by a short circuit, as earlier suspected.
Micua said CCTV footage, obtained from the Oriental Mindoro capitol security unit, ran counter to earlier suspicion that short circuit from Christmas displays in the offices caused the fire.
“The CCTV (footage) eliminates the first finding of overloading of power,” said Micua.
He said the footage showed an amber glowing between paper displays and the wall behind these, indicating that electricity was not the source of the fire. “We’re looking into whether there was human intervention,” said Micua, who corrected his earlier statement that a short circuit was the likely cause of the fire.
The investigation focuses largely on the CCTV footage as Micua said authorities are seeking help from technicians who could make the footage clearer and yield more information.
The fire broke out past 11 p.m. on Friday and destroyed the Provincial Tourism Investment and Enterprise Development Office and the Provincial Employment and Services Office. The provincial legal office also suffered damages.
Gov. Alfonso Umali, reached for comment on Sunday, said he believed the earlier theory that the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring.
“From the looks of it, faulty wiring (caused the fire) because the building is already old,” said Umali. “It’s unfortunate that this thing happened this New Year,” he said.
Orlando Tizon, provincial tourism officer, could not be reached for comment on reports that Christmas displays, which were supposed to be lit only from 6 to 10 pm, had been left lighted and unattended.
Offices at the capitol complex have been decorated with Christmas lights and large displays of cartoon characters, based on the theme “Christmas in Wonderland.”
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