ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/31 January) – Improper storage of firecrackers caused Friday’s explosion and subsequent fire, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team in the Task Force Pacific set up by Mayor Celso Lobregat, reported in a meeting Saturday night.
At least 33 persons were injured when an estimated 60,000 pounds of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials went up in smoke following an explosion at the Pacific Hardware in Barangay Camino Nuevo.
The task force also reported that a total of 16 houses were razed to the ground aside from the destruction brought about by the explosion in nearby establishments, including a hospital.
Task Force Pacific was created through Executive Order No. CL-384-2011 to investigate the cause of Friday’s incident at the compound of the Pacific Hardware in Barangay Camino Nuevo.
The task force, headed by Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD) director Supt. Jaime Ramirez, said firecrackers stored in a 20-footer container van that was exposed to sunlight was the first one that exploded.
When fire broke out, an adjacent container van containing “combustible materials” also exploded and caught fire, the task force said.
At least seven container vans, four of which contained firecrackers and other pyrotechnic materials were among those burned.
The management of Pacific Hardware is also into pharmacy business aside from pyrotechnic and firecracker hardware products.
Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesperson said Sunday that 15 entities have so far claimed damages.
Cabangbang said the task force will inspect the warehouse of the Pacific Hardware in Barangay Talisayan, 26 kilometers west of this city.
“This is a work in progress. We do not want to rush up things here,” Mayor Lobregat said of the probe.
He said the investigation should be factual and not speculative. (MindaNews)