KOLAMBUGAN, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews/13 July) — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BPF) has estimated the damage wrought by Thursday’s fire at the Findlay Millar Timber Company (FMTC) here at around 500 million pesos, Police Inspector Rommel Villafuerte, Provincial Fire Marshall said.
Villafuerte said the fire started at 6:30 p.m. on July 10 and “fire out” was declared only at 4 a.m. on July 11. The fire destroyed the firm’s largest building – the production building and part of the power house, rendered the company’s 300 workers jobless, and caused the death of a 60-year old employee.
The company, which has been operating for nearly a hundred years, produces veneer products for plywood production .The veneer products are brought to its sister company, Top Forest Incorporated in Misamis Oriental province which produces the refined plywood products for local and export purposes.
Seven firefighting teams from Kapatagan, Lala, Baroy , Tubod, Bacolod , Kolambugan and from Iligan City helped put out the fire.
Margarito Jaque, FMTC General Manager said the firm will celebrate its Centennial on June 15, 2015. He said FMTC is presentlyowned and operated by a Chinese investor and that management is still determined to rehabilitate the company.
Villafuerte said an employee identified as Leonardo Corcega, 60, was initially reported missing but Jaque on Saturday morning said Corcega’s body was found floating in the log pond with minor burns.
An employee said Corcga managed to escape from the burning production building but decided to return to retrieve the P20,000 he left behind in his table’s drawer.
Jaque said the company extended P30,000 financial assistance to the immediate family aside from the wake and burial expenses.
He said the fire started in the sander area where veneer products go through a refinement stage.
The BFP is still investigating the cause of the fire.
Jaque said FMTC can’t claim insurance because their application was denied by insurance firms allegedly because Lanao is a “high-risk” area.
The workers were paid their salaries a day after the fire, Jaque said.
When Kolambugan Lumber and Development Company (KLD) was set up by American businessmen on June 12, 1912, it drew people from other towns who were looking for job opportunities.
KLDC changed its name to Findlay Millar Timber Company on June 15, 1915. (Richel V. Umel/MindaNews)