THE University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman campus’ shopping center was razed on Thursday morning, March 8, resulting in damages of at least P500,000 worth of infrastructure.
Quezon City fire marshal Manuel Manuel said the fire that broke out at 7:14 a.m. and reached the second alarm but was declared out at 8:53 a.m.
He said a fireman was injured in the incident.
Manuel said the fire immediately spread since the structure was made of light and easily combustible material, but the cause is yet to be identified.
“Ine-establish pa namin kung saan initial nagsimula ang sunog kasi pagdating namin dito halos lahat may usok na 'yung building. Made of semi-concrete pero luma na 'yung structure,” Manuel said.
“Mostly tinamaan lahat ang ceiling ng establishment kasi kahoy 'yan. Nasusunog 'yung kahoy kaya may tendency nagwe-weaken na bababa 'yung ceiling,” he added.
Manuel said they are now conducting mopping and clearing of the burned facilities to possibly identify the cause of fire.
The shopping center, built in 1940s, has been part of almost every UP student and the community inside the campus.
It houses computer shops, grocery store, bookstore and other stores selling novelty items.
UP chancellor Michael Tan expressed sadness over the incident.
“Mahalaga ang Shopping Center for us. Everyone at one time or another pupunta dito from photocopying to haircuts to ID pictures. 'Yan ang main source," he said.
Tan also noted the need of having a fire station inside the Diliman campus where 70,000 persons including students, faculty members and staff live.
He said that the Quezon City local government has already allocated a budget for the building of such facility inside the university campus.
Meanwhile, stall owners, students, and alumni expressed regret over the fire incident.
A number of stall owners were crying as they were trying to save photocopy machines and other merchandise.
One of the concessionaires cried upon learning that all her goods have turned into dust.
“Ipinundar namin yan, pinagkahirapanan namin yan ipundar. Nagsisikap kami para diyan ‘tas makikita na lang naming nasusunog na lang siyang ganyan, wala kaming magawa (We invested on that, we worked hard to invest on that. We’re persevering then we’ll see now that it’s already on fire, there’s nothing we can do),” she said.
Students and alumni continue to express their “feeling of loss” via tweets online.
An alumnus tweeted it is like losing a loved one and all good memories that have shaped your life.
According to @charmanalo, “It feels like an old friend suddenly passed away. thank you, UP Shopping Center. You served the community well for decades.” (with reports from PNA)