At least nine people were injured after the acoustic board ceiling of a movie house in Cebu City collapsed Monday night during an event hosted by an Australian business process outsourcing (BPO) company.
The launching of Dreamscape Network Inc.’s advertising campaign inside Cinema 5 of Ayala Center Cebu with about 300 attending the private event was going on when water and then wooden boards started to fall.
The incident was spread through social media, including video that showed the acoustic boards falling on the guests and water pouring from the ceiling.
Ayala Center Cebu, which is owned and operated by Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI), in a statement said initial findings showed that the sprinkler system released water that caused the acoustic boards to fall.
The company added that the mall’s Emergency Brigade Team immediately responded to clear the area and those affected were given medical care.
There were nine people injured in the incident and at press time five were in the hospital awaiting doctors’ clearance to be discharged.
The CHI communications manager, lawyer Jeanette Japzon, said in a text message to The Manila Times that the incident happened around 8:50 p.m.
“We assure the public that the safety of our customers continues to be a top priority in the mall and we are investigating to prevent recurrence of the incident,” she added.
Japzon clarified that the ceiling was made from light materials.
“Investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the collapse. As shown by video captured by those inside the theater, pipes ruptured, pouring water from the ceiling,” she said.
Businessman Alexis Yap told The Manila Times that he was the host of the private event, saying they were halfway into the program when the incident happened.
“It was the world premier/launching of their [BPO company’s] ad campaign for their website,” Yap said.
He added that the mall management was not quick to address the situation. But he did overhear that a call was made via radio.
“The Australian owners and management were taking the lead in evacuating the people,” Yap said.