P100-M LOST IN ISABELA MARKET FIRE

SANTIAGO CITY, ISABELA, September 30, 2003 (STAR) By Charlie Lagasca  - A three-hour fire razed almost one-fourth of this region’s premier public market, destroying more than P100 million worth of goods and property on Sunday evening.

The City’s Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the incident, so far the worst to hit the region this year, almost gutted one-fourth of the four-hectare market, which is Cagayan Valley’s commercial trade center.

Senior Inspector Manuel Golino, head of the city fire station here, said it took almost all the fire trucks in the province, plus those from neighboring Nueva Vizcaya, Cagayan and Quirino provinces to contain the fire and prevent it from razing the entire market and adjacent establishments.

Golino said the fire almost engulfed the southern portion of the market where the dry good section, home appliances, jewelry establishments and electronic items were located.

Leonardo Espina, owner of the famous Espina Dry Goods Center here, said he lost close to P10 million worth of dry goods, including imported items, to the incident.

Arson investigators said the fire could be due to faulty electrical wiring but as of press time they are still considering other possible causes.

Mayor Jose Miranda here has dispatched a team of engineers led by City Engineer Rogelio Rotoni to help in the investigation.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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