ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/29 January) — Damage to property caused by the explosion in a firecracker storage facility here Friday afternoon has reached around P35 million, the initial assessment of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDMC) showed.
The CDCM assessment involves only the estimated worth of property damaged within the compound of businessman Benjie Chiong, one of the licensed dealers of pyrotechnic and firecrackers here whose family is also into hardware and pharmacy businesses.
City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin Agbulos said 33 persons, two of them firefighters, were injured. He said the victims include watchers of Ciudad Medical Zamboanga, residents living near the warehouse and some of the warehouse personnel.
But Agbulos said 31 of them were immediately discharged from the hospital since they sustained only minor injuries.
The two firefighters confined for treatment at the Zamboanga A. E. Community hospital are Raymond Gutierrez and Romeo Santos.
Agbulos said the Ciudad Medical Zamboanga has temporarily stopped operations and transferred its 55 patients to six hospitals in the city.
Mayor Celso Lobregat convened the CDMC Friday night upon his arrival from Manila. He said they have yet to assess the total worth of damages to include the nearby residential area, business establishments and the Ciudad Medical Zamboanga.
Fire broke out immediately after an explosion took place Friday afternoon at an open storage of pyrotechnic and firecrackers in Chiong’s compound in Barangay Camino Nuevo, one of the barangays in the city’s periphery.
Supt. Jaime Ramirez, director of the Bureau of Fire Protection of the Zamboanga City Fire District reported to the CDMC that the explosion was recorded at 3:20 p.m. and was immediately followed by a blaze.
Six more explosions were recorded one after the other while the firefighters from ZCFD, Filipino-Chinese Fire Volunteer Brigade, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) and the Edwin Andrews Air Base (EAAB) tried to contain the blaze.
A warehouse of hardware stocks and at least 10 houses were gutted down aside from the open storage of pyrotechnic and firecrackers.
Ramirez said they declared “fire out” at 5:20 p.m, two hours later. (MindaNews)