Fire breaks out in the middle of Dinagyang Festival
MANILA, Philippines – Hours before the highlight event of Iloilo's Dinagyang Festival, a large fire broke out in another part of the city, putting a damper on the festivities.
At 7:40 pm on Friday, January 24, a fire broke out in Ledi Supermart in Iznart Street, Iloilo City. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
The blaze reached 11 other stores, said Rollin Hormina of the city's Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP). These include:
- CPT Pharmacy
- Yoka Store
- Helen Marketing
- AH Trading
- LGC Hardware
- EC Marketing
- Yankee General Merchandizing
- PCSO Lotto Outlet
- JB Lucky
- Mercury Money Changer
- Enghong Commercial
Around 15 fire trucks were needed to quell the persistent blaze. It took 3 hours before the BFP declared the fire under control at around 10 pm.
But despite the fire and resulting destruction, celebrations for the Dinagyang Festival will go on as planned.
“Dinagyang Festival will still be celebrated despite what happened," said Iloilo mayor Jed Patrik Mabilog. The "Kasadyahan" will also go on as scheduled.
Mabilog ordered all departments of the local government to help clean the debris from the fire, particularly those in the streets blocking the Kasadyahan parade route. The Kasadyahan is a cultural dance parade and contest participated in by towns and schools from all over Western Visayas. It is one of the highlights of the Dinagyang Festival.
This is not the first time fires threatened the Dinagyang Festival, one of the Western Visayas city's biggest tourist draws.
In fact, similarly-timed fire outbreaks occurred in the last two years.
In 2013, a fire broke out in Navitasan Village in La Paz. The year before, Tanza Village was eaten by an enormous fire, said Twilyn Amancio-Regino, an Iloilo resident.
Many of the affected establishments belonged to Chinese businessmen eagerly awaiting another major celebration at the end of the month: Chinese New Year.
“It is very unlucky to end the year for us, Chinese, who are affected since Chinese New Year is fast approaching,” said Tai Chikin, owner of CPT Pharmacy. – Rappler.com