Danao City fire destroys P6M

CEBU. Some Danao City police officers pick up a pistol, confiscated during an operation last month, which last Saturday night’s fire burned, along with a structure worth P3.8M and P2.32M in equipment. (Alan Tangcawan)

CEBU -- Some P6.19 million worth of properties were destroyed by a fire that gutted a police station and six government offices in Barangay Poblacion, Danao City last Saturday night.

Investigators have to confirm what caused the fire that ruined the offices of the police, social workers and other government employees, but faulty wiring or an unattended electrical appliance are being considered.

SFO2 Eduardo Rizaldo, chief investigator of the Danao City Fire Station, said their security guard on duty recalled that the fire broke out at 9:10 p.m. in a government building, which is located 100 meters away from the fire station.

They rushed to the area, but the fire quickly escalated and engulfed the building, reportedly built in the 1960s.

Rizaldo told Sun.Star Cebu they raised the incident to a general alarm, and all the fire trucks from neighboring municipalities such as Consolacion, Liloan, Carmen and Catmon responded.

Fanned by strong winds, the flames snaked to a nearby building. After battling with the fire for 30 minutes, firefighters declared the scene under control.

By then, however, the two buildings had been razed, along with computers, documents, evidence and equipment.

Mandaue, too

In Mandaue City shortly before noon Sunday, two houses were gutted when a fire erupted in a congested neighborhood in Barangay Cubacub shortly before noon.

A resident suffered from a cut in his foot while scrambling to get valuables out of his house.

Personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Mandaue City received a call for help at 11:45 a.m. They rushed to Purok 6-A, Upper Cubacub and stopped the flames from spreading within eight minutes.

In the Danao City fire, an initial investigation by the fire station revealed that the fire started in the Parole and Probation Office, which was located on the second floor of the building.

The first level was occupied by the Danao City Police Station, while the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), Public Employment Service Office (Peso), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and City Agricultural Services held office on the second floor.

“Nakadungog ang mga police nga naa’y nagpakapaka sa ibabaw unya sunod aso ug kayo dayon (The police heard some explosions on the upper level, then saw smoke and fire),” the fire investigator said.

19 detainees

The fire spread to another building occupied by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Post Office.

Investigator Rizaldo pegged the damage to the structure at P3.8 million and said that the fire also destroyed P2,319,800 worth of equipment.

That estimate could still go up, after department heads figure out what much the fire damaged in their offices.

Superintendent Elmer Lim, the city’s police chief, said that the police are still grateful that no one got hurt. There were 19 detainees inside the police station at that time.

“Before this all happened, we already had an evacuation plan for the detainees in case an accident happens,” Lim said.

The detainees left through the exit and were brought to an evacuation area, where the police kept an eye on them.

Lim said he was responding to a stabbing alarm when the fire broke out. When his team arrived, flames had already enveloped the building.

Tent set up

During the interview, the police chief revealed a similar incident also happened last year when the wires on the second floor also caught fire.

“Nabantayan lang gyud dayon to kay naa may trabaho sila mao tong nadali ra (At that time, the fire was noticed right away because there were still people working),” he said.

Without a police station, the police officers are now holding office in another building occupied by the Traffic Section.

The detainees were transferred to the Danao City Jail, a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-run correctional facility.

Police also put up a tent across the destroyed building. A desk officer will record incidents and will inform residents they have transferred to another office.

Lim said that all of their records, evidence and police officers’ uniforms that were placed in a locker area were destroyed. Sixty-four persons work with the Danao City Police Station.

Lim said he will request the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) to provide them with computers for doing their paperwork.

New station

Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III told Sun.Star Cebu that the City has allocated funds for the construction of a new police station in 2015 so they can covert the old building into a museum and library.

When the mayor’s late father, Ramon “Mano Amon” Durano Sr., assumed office as town mayor, the affected buildings had already been constructed, he said.

The mayor said that the City will fast-track the public bidding for the project. He recalled that the burned building also used to house the city jail, which was later transferred to the new site in Barangay Dunggoan.

Vice Mayor Ramon “Red” Durano VI also told Sun.Star Cebu that the new city jail had been in the building since last year, and that all the inmates were relocated.

“If I remember correctly, we appropriated around P5 million to start the first phase of the new police station,” Vice Mayor Durano said.

The vice mayor added that the fire will prompt local officials to speed up the process of building a new station.

The vice mayor added that the plan was to turn the old building, which the fire gutted, into a heritage center and tourism office. (With Rebelander S. Basilan and Elias O. Baquero)
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