Mindanao mental hospital burns down

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The only facility in Mindanao for mental patients, Davao Mental Hospital burned down at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Fire investigators placed the total cost of damage to P2 million.

Chief of the investigation and intelligence section of the Bureau of Fire Protection 11 Rodolfo Alocelja said that except for the multi-purpose hall and gymnasium, most of the structures made of wood were destroyed.

Alocelja said that based on the initial investigation, the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring that broke out in the female ward and spread to the buildings adjacent to it. The fire was under control by 8:30 a.m.

No one was reported hurt or wounded in the incident since the hospital attendants relocated their patients to safer ground.

The Davao Mental Hospital is located at J.P. Laurel Avenue and is managed by the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC). The hospital is the only facility in the province and was once known as Davao General Hospital since 1917, making it one of the oldest structures existing in the city.

As only mental hospital in Mindanao, patients come from Davao, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Surigao, Agusan and provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

After the fire was controlled, SPMC officials led by Chief of Hospital Dr. Leopoldo Vega, Chief of Clinics Dr. Ricardo Audan and Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Ricardo Justol immediately called for a meeting to assess the situation.

Vega told reporters that 197 patients would be temporarily housed at the multi-purpose hall, while the others are to be relocated at the outpatient building at the SPMC along Dumanlas Road in Buhangin district in the city.

Vega said that their agency has since been asking the national government to appropriate funds for the renovation of the mental hospital but still nothing has been done.

He is hoping that the immediate action will be taken, as it is impossible for the patients to stay long in temporary relocations.

Shiela T. Mañalac

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