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ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines — At least 1,156 business establishments were affected by the predawn fire which razed the public market in the capital city of San Fernando in La Union province on Thursday, January 11.
The city government estimated losses at P200 million.
In a news conference, Mayor Hermenegildo “Dong” A. Gualberto said he has asked the city council to declare a state of calamity to speed-up recovery efforts.
The fire, which burned to the ground all business stalls in the one-hectare complex, was determined to have started at 1 am and quickly spread, said Jun Eland Wanawan, fire investigator of the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Details as to what caused the fire remained unclear, Wanawan said, but he added that their investigations so far showed that it was likely that the blaze rapidly spread because the structure and the vendors’ merchandise at the public market were made of “light materials.”
It took at least five hours for firefighters to declare a “fire out” at around 6:52 am, Wanawan said. A general alarm was raised at the height of the blaze and responders from nearby municipalities, private groups, and volunteers were called in to help douse the fire.
The city government said that no one was hurt or injured during the incident.
“We will do everything to help and serve those who were affected by this tragedy as we help one another for the building of a new wet market,” said Gualberto, adding that psychological and financial assistance will be given to those affected.
In the meantime, market operations have been transferred at the Barangays Ilocanos Sur and Ilocanos Norte, the city government said.
The Market Operations Office was also temporarily transferred to the Ilocanos Sur Barangay Hall.
Both the city and provincial government launched donation drives to bring additional relief to the individuals, most of them owners of small stalls, affected by the incident. – Rappler.com