ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 2 Feb) – A four-hour fire Monday evening razed down a three-classroom school building in an isolated coastal village in the municipality of Lala, Lanao del Norte.
Authorities said the damage caused by the fire was estimated at P2.544 million as the building of the Darumawang Bucana Elementary School was totally destroyed because firetrucks could not penetrate the area.
There were reportedly no access roads to the village surrounded by fishponds and mangroves.
Glyn Ajon, chairman of Barangay Darumawang Bucana, said residents nearby helped in putting out the fire that started around 8:30 p.m. Village people acted together in bayanihan fashion using water from the sea, he added.
But residents could not save the school building made of light materials, Ajon said.
Fire Inspector Kenneth Puig, fire marshal of Lala, said they received a call around 9:30 p.m. but could not do anything about it because there was no access by land to Darumawang Bucana.
Puig said faulty electrical wiring could have caused the fire.
Daniel de Luna, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer of the Lanao del Norte Schools Division Office, said the Department of Education will issue a directive to all public schools to assess their electrical wirings.
He said he will recommend to the schools division to issue fire extinguishers in all public schools and train people how to handle and operate these.
Edilberto Oplenaria, schools division superintendent, said part of the modules for the first and second quarters were among those damaged in the fire.
The fishing village of Darumawang Bucana, which faces Panguil Bay, could only be reached by boats, said Ajon. It has an estimated population of 2,000 living in 300 households. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)