8 DIE IN BAGUIO NIGHTCLUB FIRE

BAGUIO CITY, December 12, 2003  (STAR) By Artemio Dumlao Eight people died in a fire that razed a nightclub on Magsaysay Avenue here yesterday morning.

Arson investigators of the Baguio Fire Department said the victims, all stay-in guest relations officers (GROs), were asleep when the fire broke out, trapping them inside their quarters at the Perutz nightclub.

Five of the victims were identified only as Kaycee, Avril, Mayumi, Marvin and Edsel. Most of them were still clad in their nightclothes.

Senior Police Officer 2 Viyo Hidalgo said rescuers were not able to revive some of the victims for lack of breathing apparatus.

Some later died on arrival at the Baguio Emergency and Medical Center.

Doctors said the victims apparently died from inhaling toxic fumes.

The physicians led by William Occidental and John Tinoyan claimed the victims were not responding to any first aid treatments. "I believe that the victims are clinically dead," Occidental said.

Arson probers said they are still investigating the cause of the fire. which started at the ground floor of the establishment around 10:30 a.m.

One of the waiters, Gary Erobin, claimed seeing heavy smoke emanating from the nightclub before reporting the incident.

Erobin said the fire broke out when most of the GROs were fast asleep after working the whole night until early morning.

Superintendent Francisco Manalo Jr., Baguio police chief, said they are focusing on reports that Perutz had been ordered closed by the city government for violating the National Building Code.

Despite the closure order, the management of Perutz bar continued to operate, Manalo said.

Records at the Baguio Health Department showed there are 45 registered nightclubs in the city, mostly located along Magsaysay Avenue.

According to Dr. Cecilia Brillantes of the Baguio Health Department, some night spots and entertainment establishments in the city do not heed orders to upgrade electrical connections and install fire exits.

Last September, nine people were injured after a fire broke out at the Blue Ribbon bar along Naguilian Road, also in the city.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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