SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/01 August) – Fire erupted in the storage room of the Hall of Justice in this city on Tuesday morning forcing a suspension of hearings as the court employees scampered out after smoke filled the whole building.
Fire Officer 3 Jose E. Malaza, duty investigator of the Bureau of Fire in Surigao City said the fire started at 10:10am. He estimated the damage at five million pesos.
Malaza said two storage rooms of Regional Trial Court-Branch 32, one room of the Office of the Clerk of Court; one room of the Public Attorney’s Office and two residential houses were partially burned.
He said three of their fire trucks, one from the Chinese Fire Volunteer Brigade and another one from Barangay San Juan fire-substation responded to the incident.
He said they put out the fire after one hour, adding it was already full-blown by the time they arrived.
He said they have yet to know the cause of the fire.
The partly burned building is located within the Capitol Compound in Barangay Washington.
No one was reported hurt. But Executive Judge Victor A. Canoy said documents on decided cases and ballot boxes were burned.
“These are many cases, since wala pa ko diri mag judge naa na kadto nga mga cases,” he said, adding he doubted if it was a case of arson.
“If this is arson, kadtong mga active cases unta (the documents on active cases would have been burned),” he told MindaNews.
He said he was presiding court hearing in his sala at Branch 29 when he noticed smoke entering the room, and some employees shouted fire.
Canoy the fumes spread fast forcing them to go out of the building bringing with them important things.
Garchill Canoy, an employee Branch 32 said they took things out of their office especially the folders containing active cases. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)