Huge fire in Boracay razes more than 150 stores

BORACAY, Philippines – More than 150 stores were hit by a massive fire of undetermined origin in Boracay Island early Monday, September 18.

The fire gutted souvenir shops, eatery and grocery stores, pawnshops and money changers, a wet market, boarding houses, and fast food outlets inside the popular D'Talipapa-Boracay in Sitio Manggayad.

Acting Provincial Fire Marshall Senior Fire Inspector Rowel Limjuco said the damage to property was initially pegged at P10 million.

The fire started at around 4:45 am and was declared fire out at 12:05 pm.

As of the 7 pm report, the huge fire destroyed 58 wet market tables, 126 restaurants and souvenir stalls, and 32 tiangge or small stores. The fire happened about 20 meters away from the busy main road of Barangay Balabag.

Firemen of the Boracay Island Special Fire Protection Unit (BISFPU), volunteers from Boracay Action Group, and Boracay Fire Rescue Ambulance Responders were deployed to put out the fire.

Policemen of Boracay Tourist Assistance Center (BTAC), Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary Squadron 609, Municipal Auxiliary Police, Philippine Army, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Boracay Island Water Company, Boracay Tubi Systems Incorporated, PARDSS Foundation International, and Kabalikat Civicom also assisted the firefighters.

Limjuco said two fire volunteer-responders suffered minor injuries while no casualties were reported during the fire.

As of posting, fire investigators of BISFPU Boracay have yet to establish the cause and origin of fire and the exact damage to property.

At least 500 individuals were also affected by the 6-hour fire that also damaged a commercial building and 5 residential houses near the D'Talipapa Boracay compound.

Sangguniang Bayan Member Jupiter Aelred Gallenero said relief assistance was also pouring in for the 7 displaced families in Balabag Barangay hall with the help of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office.

Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling also activated the Incident Command System Command Center at beachfront Station 2.

He also convened a meeting with Joint Task Force Boracay, Boracay Action Group, barangay captains of Balabag and Manoc-Manoc, as well as municipal department heads of Malay.

Meanwhile, Senior Fire Officer I Ricky Domingo of Provincial Fire Marshal Office said 3 fire trucks of BFP-Tangalan, BFP-Ibajay and BFP-Malay also responded to the fire scene.

The fire trucks were transported on a barge from mainland Malay to Boracay, he said.

BFP Kalibo firemen also responded but were advised to return back to Kalibo while on their way to Tangalan area since the fire was under control.

Firemen from BFP-Buruanga also joined their counterparts in controlling the fire.

Two years ago, a fire also razed establishments and boarding houses in the hilly area of Talipapa Bukid in Sitio Manggayad. –