FIRE broke out from the University of the Philippines shopping center in Quezon City early Thursday.
In an updated report by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the fire started in one of the canteens at 7:15 a.m. and reached 2nd alarm at 7:26 a.m.
The fire was put under control at 8:24 a.m., and 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 Insp. Rosendo Cabillan told The Manila Times.
“Around 48 stores were affected,” BFP Fire Marshal Manuel Manuel added.
Manuel said that 20 fire trucks and two ambulances were deployed to the scene.
Damage to property was estimated at P500,000.
Fire officer Joeboy Lagnason suffered from a minor laceration on his right hand during the operation. No other casualties were reported.
The UP shopping center houses basic services for students.
“Everyone, at one time or another, pumupunta dito — from photocopying to haircuts to ID pictures, ‘yan ang main source ng building,” UP Chancellor Michael Lim Tan told reporters.
(Everyone, at one time or another, go here for their various needs from photocopying to haircut, to ID pictures. This is what the building mainly provides.)
Tan added that the university would meet with the employees and storeowners of the building to see what help they needed.
Thelma Tecson, owner of Rodic’s Diner, said she was happy that all 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.
She added that students and food lovers patronized Rodic’s for its tapsilog and kare-kare.
“We are hopeful that we can stand up from this tragedy because we’ve always catered to the masses,” Tecson said.
Meanwhile, employees of the 26-year-old Blessings Copy Center, which has been providing photocopying, thesis binding, and printing services to students, managed to take out 11 of its photocopying machines before the fire spread to the entire building.
“Yung mga libro, thesis ng mga bata, hindi na talaga namin naisalba. Apat sa stalls namin tupok lahat,” employee Matt Gallego said.
(We failed to save the books, theses, which the students left here. Four of our stalls were all razed.)
This is the fourth time in three years that a fire hit the UP campus.
Fire also engulfed the UP College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association Food Center and the Alumni Center in 2015 and the UP Faculty Center in 2016. GLEE JALEA