An about eight-hour fire hit two establishments in Bacolod City on Sunday, February 12, causing damage initially estimated at P20,234,400, Chief Inspector Rodel Legaspi, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – Bacolod chief, said.
Damaged by the fire were Jean’s Boutique owned by Jean Lumauag and Wan Li Marketing owned by Alex Choi.
The BFP received a fire call at 8:33 a.m. that at a fire had hit Jean’s Boutique and firefighters were at the scene at 8:35 a.m. The fire then spread to Wan Li Marketing, Legaspi said.
The fire at Jean’s Boutique was put out before 11 a.m. and at Wan Li Marketing at 4:14 p.m., he added.
Legaspi said it was difficult to put out the fire at the third floor of Wan Li Marketing because it was packed with merchandize that left barely any room to move. The store sold items ranging from light bulbs, bags, liniments, folding beds to many other household items, he said.
He said with the help of the vertical ladders of the Amity and Chamber volunteer fire brigades they made holes in the walls of the third floor of Wan Li Marketing using circular saws. The holes were drilled from Jean’s Boutique and the sides of the building facing Luzuriaga and Locsin streets.
However, once they drilled the holes they still could not enter the third floor because their pathways were blocked by the stands where the merchandize were placed, so they could only put the nozzles of their hoses through the holes for water to enter the third floor, Legaspi said.
He said because of lack of ventilation and extreme heat it was too dangerous for firefighters to enter.
The smoke from the burning plastic hurt the eyes and the odor was difficult to endure, Legaspi added.
The holes they drilled enabled them to ventilate the area and allow the smoke to exit the third floor, he said.
Luckily it was a Sunday and the fire happened during the day. Jean’s Boutique had just opened when the fire broke out and Wan Li Marketing was closed so no one was injured, he said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Legaspi said.
The estimated cost of damage is subject to change after the two establishments submit their affidavits of loss, he said.*