Fire guts UB old high school building-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, August 19, 2013
STRONG rains on Sunday morning did not stop a fire, which razed a three-story Physical Education building used by the University of Baguio (UB) Preparatory High School.
Personnel of the Baguio Fire Department rushed to the University of Baguio campus along Kalantiaw Street Sunday noon after receiving a call from a concerned citizen.
Baguio Fire Marshal Joe Fernand Bangyod said they arrived around 11:55 a.m. with the entire third floor of the building already engulfed in fire.
Firemen tried to control the flames but it was only around 1:50 p.m. or almost two hours until they were able to declare a "fire out."
Two people were injured in the fire identified as Cesar Badecao, a physical education instructor who sustained second degree burns and security marshal Frederick Chaloy, who was suffocated as smoke billowed out of the building during the fire.
The victims were rushed at the nearby Saint Louis University Hospital and are still undergoing treatment.
Bangyod said they are still investigating the origin of the fire that started at the third floor of the building. The structure was being used for martial arts trainings of athletes, according to UB vice president for Institutional Development Miller Peckley.
Firemen and volunteer fire brigades bombarded the perimeter of the building with water so as not to affect other nearby structures but the city fire marshal said they were no longer able to stop the fire in the building, which eventually collapsed.
The fire marshal said the building was partly made of pine wood which easily burns and has no built-in smoke detector and sprinkler system.
But Peckley, in an interview Monday, said the building is one of those old buildings in the university not covered by the Fire Code of the Philippines.
Peckley assured classes and school operations will not be affected by the fire incident as the university gymnasium is available for martial arts trainings of students.
He also stressed the building is rarely used by students. To ensure safety while fire investigators are conducting their probe on the origins of the fire, he said school administrators have ordered for their marshals to secure and cordon off the affected area.
He further assured all UB buildings occupied by students are now complying fully with the Fire Code of the Philippines with modern smoke detectors and sprinkler systems.
Bangyod said administrators of the University of Baguio estimated the damage to be more than P3 million.
UB president Johann Ben Bautista suspended classes in the entire university Sunday night due to the fire and also due to monsoon rains that battered Baguio since Friday.
Vice-president Peckley said this is the second time University of Baguio preparatory high school building figured in a fire incident. In February 2008 fire also razed the main building of the school as well as other floors of then FRB Building.
In Baguio City, the fire marshal said of many high rise buildings, only some 112 buildings beyond four floors have sprinkler and smoke alarm systems.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 20, 2013.