Cotabato fire razes school, business stalls

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/2 July) — A fire that hit this city before dawn on Thursday razed a kindergarten building, 17 business stalls and an industrial building, fire officials said.

The school building was part of the Cotabato City Central Pilot School.

Chief Insp. Adam Guiamad, the city fire marshal, said a padyak (pedicab) driver reported the fire along Sinsuat Ave. near the city plaza around 3:30 a.m. He said firemen responded immediately, braving loose live wire. Two of the firemen got electrocuted but were reportedly unharmed.

Guiamad said the fire could have been caused by an overloaded electrical circuit. He added they are now investigating why the electrical lines seemed to be still alive when all the stall workers were out.

“I saw the spark of electrical wires,” said businessman Tony Ang, whose business stall was saved from the fire. Still, he had to evacuate goods from his store.

Maranao and local dry goods vendors were still salvaging what was left of their merchandise until 4 a.m.

The Bureau of Fire Protection declared fire out past 5 a.m.

Guiamad requested newly installed Mayor Jojo Guiani to purchase better firefighting equipment to improve his office’s fighting chance against fire. He noted that the Filipino-Chinese fire volunteers are using more sophisticated firefighting equipment than the BFP. (Ferdinand Cabrera / MindaNews)