Char pattern hints arson as possible cause of Star City fire

Loreben Tuquero
Char pattern hints arson as possible cause of Star City fire
The Pasay City fire marshal says they were still looking at other angles

MANILA, Philippines – Pasay City fire marshal Superintendent Paul Pili said Thursday, October 3, that arson was a possible cause of the fire which gutted the Star City amusement park based on the char pattern found in their initial observations.

A day after the incident, Pili told Rappler that after the fire was put out, they observed char pattern and irregular bend of metal elements inside the structure that hinted arson.

Pili also noted how the fire spread to two directions – towards the entrance of Star City and towards the Manila Broadcasting Company offices – could have been a result of arson as well.

If this was what happened, Pili said, the culprit could have used gasoline or crude oil. 

However, he did not rule out “natural causes,” and said they would continue investigating.

The Star City blaze broke out just after Wednesday midnight, October 2. 

Aside from the amusement park, also damaged by the fire were the office of the Manila Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Aliw Theater. 

DZRH, the flagship AM radio station of MBC, temporarily went off-the-air but resumed broadcast Thursday morning.

Pili said the Bureau of Fire Protection – National Capital Region has already organized an investigation team to look into the incident, which happened inside the reclaimed area of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex. He added the investigation can take up to 45 days.

Ashes from the fire will be sent to the arson laboratory to look for chemical substances.

The fire marshal said that there were still no suspects if the fire was caused by arson.

The blaze took 14 hours to put out, destroying 80-90% of the theme park. Pili said they estimated the damage to property at P15 million. –

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Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.