Fire hits Ortigas Center condo; no one hurt
MANILA, Philippines — A fire at a condominium tower being constructed in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, prompted an evacuation of hundreds of employees in a nearby building and caused traffic buildup in the business district Monday afternoon.
Chief Insp. Roy Quisto, the Pasig City fire marshal, said that the fire at Avant Garde Residences near the corner of Doña Julia Vargas and Meralco Avenues prompted the voluntary evacuation of at least 300 employees of adjacent One Corporate Center (OCC).
The official said that the smoke billowing from the condominium building found its way to OCC’s several floors through small openings near the air-conditioning units.
The fire also prompted city officials to close off to traffic portions of Meralco Avenue, Jade Drive and Exchange Road, causing buildup in adjacent streets such as Pearl Drive.
Quisto said that their initial investigation showed that the fire at the 55-story condominium started at around 1:45 p.m. on its second-level basement, which later spread to the third-level basement.
He added that the building had four basements and the second-level was where cans of paint, thinners, PVC pipes and other construction materials were stored. The third-level basement on the other hand was where toilet fixtures were stored.
Authorities were still determining the cause of the fire and cost of the damage to the building owned by Amberland Corp. However, Quisto said that they were looking at either a cigarette butt left unattended or a blown light bulb as the possible causes of the fire.
He noted that the building’s security guard Jefferson Zaquiz said that there was no one on the second-level basement since it was where construction materials were stored.
As of this writing, authorities did not report casualties in the fire, which reached the fourth alarm and was declared under control at4:44 p.m.
Quisto said that firefighters had a hard time quelling the fire because of poor visibility caused by the thick smoke. He added that they had to use the local government’s two thermal imaging cameras to combat the fire.
Quisto said that since the fire affected two levels of the building’s basement floors, they and the city’s engineering office would have to later check its structural integrity for the safety of its future occupants. SFM
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