Girl dies in Koronadal fire

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 February) — An unidentified girl was killed after a huge fire gutted down a portion of the old city hall building of nearby Koronadal City on Monday night.

Fire Officer 1 Ricky Villacura, arson investigator of the Koronadal City fire station, said Tuesday the fire started at past 10 pm and eventually reduced to ruins the entire second level of the nearly 60-year-old building.

The two-storey structure, which is one of the oldest buildings within the city’s downtown area, is located within the old city hall compound that is just around 10 meters away from the city fire station.

Villacura said their five fire trucks and personnel immediately responded at the scene after receiving a fire call at 10:28 pm.

“But it was already quite big when we arrived and was fast spreading in other portions of the building,” he said.

He said they were able to control the fire with the assistance of fire trucks and firefighters from local volunteer brigades and nearby municipal fire stations at around 11:15 p.m.

During inspection, he said they found the remains of an unidentified girl, who was about 14 to 16-years-old, in one of the old offices that was used as a storage room.

“The victim was possibly trapped when the fire reached the room,” Villacura said.

He said they were not aware as to how the victim ended up in the room but a source from the Koronadal City fire station said she could be part of a group who was seen climbing into the building before the fire started.

As of Tuesday noon, Villacura said they have yet to establish the cause of the fire, which left an estimated damage of around P400,000.

Among those destroyed in the fire were the old offices of the city mayor, city council session hall and several city government departments.

The city government abandoned the old city hall building three years ago after it transferred its offices to the new city hall complex in Barangay Sto. Nino.

But the building’s first level still houses the city health office, city jail, city police station and the city traffic section office.

The city government had planned to develop the old city hall compound into a cultural complex and transform the old municipal and city hall building into a museum. (MindaNews)