KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 30 Dec) – Around P2.7 million worth of properties and valuables were destroyed after a huge fire gutted down a row of business establishments and several houses near the main public market here early Wednesday.
Senior Fire Officer 1 Mikhael Francis Falalimpa, intelligence and investigation unit chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection here, said the fire started around 1:30 a.m. in one of the establishments situated in a crowded commercial area along lower Osmeña Street, Barangay Zone 1.
The site is located in front of the city’s central public market and several meters away from the old city hall compound, which hosts the fire station.
Falalimpa said their fire trucks and personnel, who were later augmented by firefighters from Tupi, Tampakan and Banga fire stations of South Cotabato, immediately responded to the scene after receiving the fire call around 1:40 a.m.
But he said the fire blew up fast and spread to nearby stalls and other structures, which were mostly made of light materials.
No one was reported hurt in the incident, which reached the third alarm before responding firefighters declared a fire out around 3:35 a.m.
Falalimpa said they are still determining the origin and cause of the incident, which was the second in the city since last week.
“Our investigation is still ongoing and currently verifying the accounts of several witnesses as to where and how it actually started,” he said in an interview.
Based on their initial assessment, he said at least 10 business establishments and three houses were razed by the fire.
He said it includes three barber shops, a beauty salon, carinderia or eatery, sari-sari store and a popular bakeshop. A car park in front of one of the establishments was partially damaged.
Falalimpa urged residents to be extra cautious and vigilant, especially in the run-up to the New Year’s Eve celebration.
Several hours before Christmas Eve, a motor shop and several nearby establishments along Balmores Street in Barangay Zone 2 were also gutted down by a huge fire. (MindaNews)