Michael Uy, administrator of Medina College-Ipil, said the security guard on duty alerted them after seeing black smoke coming out from the school laboratory at 2 a.m.
Uy said the fire could have been caused by “faulty wiring” as it reportedly started inside the school laboratory.
“What is lamentable here is that it took one hour for the firemen to respond to our call when the fire was still manageable,” he said.
He claimed they called the local fire department thrice but “the first fire truck arrived only at 3 a.m.”
He said the building would have been saved had the firemen immediately responded.
Senior Fire Officer 3 Alberto Tapoc, chief operations officer of the Provincial Fire Office, denied the allegation.
“In fact, our fire officers responded promptly,” Tapoc said in the vernacular.
He, however, admitted there was delay in refilling the fire truck citing “difficulty of getting the fire hydrant opened by the local water district.”
Fire Officer 2 Tahong Calla echoed Tapoc’s claim.
“It took us about 35 minutes to get the fire hydrant opened in order for us to refill the fire truck,” Calla explained.
By then, he said, the fire was already all over the place.
The fire was contained by 6 a.m.
Nine classrooms, school canteen, library, and other equipment went up in smoke.
Investigators initially pegged the cost of the damage to the school at P2 million, although they have yet to determine the cause of the fire.
Medina College-Ipil is a branch of Medina College in Ozamiz City. It started its operations here eight years ago. (Antonio M. Manaytay/MindaNews Contributor)