A fire possibly caused by faulty electrical wiring destroyed shops at the University of the Philippines’ shopping center in Diliman Quezon City on Thursday.
The fire started in one of the canteens at 7:15 a.m. It reached second alarm at 7:26 a.m.
The fire was declared out at 8:53 a.m.
“We are looking at the possibility of faulty electrical wiring which may have spread throughout the ceiling of the establishment,” Fire Inspector Rosendo Cabillan told The Manila Times.
BFP Fire Marshal Manuel Manuel said around 40 stores were affected.
Manuel said 20 fire trucks were deployed. Damage to property was estimated at P500,000.
A fire officer, Joeboy Lagnason, was injured.
The UP shopping center houses stores that provide basic services for students.
“Everyone, at one time or another, pumupunta dito (came here) for photocopying to haircuts to ID pictures,” UP Chancellor Dr. Michael Lim Tan told reporters.
Tan said they will meet with employees and store owners to discuss how the university can provide them aid.
Thelma Tecson, the owner of the iconic Rodic’s Diner, said she was happy that her employees were safe.
“We are still figuring out how we can get going. Perhaps we can relocate our personnel to our other branches for the mean time,” she told The Manila Times.
Students and food lovers used to visit Rodic’s for its famous tapsilog and kare-kare.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Blessings Copy Center, famous among students for providing photocopying, thesis binding, and printing services, was able to bring out 11 photocopying machines before the fire ate the store.
“Yung mga libro, thesis ng mga bata, hindi na talaga namin naisalba. Apat sa stalls namin tupok lahat (We failed to save the books and thesis of students. Four of our stalls were razed),” employee Matt Gallego said.
This is the fourth time in three years that a fire hit the UP campus.
Fire hit the UP College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association Food Center and the Alumni Center in 2015 and the UP Faculty Center in 2016.