By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A late evening fire completely gutted a two-storey building belonging to San Blas Academy Inc., a school located in Barangay Payao, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental.
According to Fire Officer 3 Jonathan Bernardez, the fire reportedly started around 9:20 p.m.; however, they received the fire call around 9:51 p.m., when the blaze was already at its height.
The town’s local fire station immediately responded but, due to difficulty encountered in dousing the blaze, they were forced to seek assistance from fire stations located in neighboring Isabela and Hinigaran.
Based on information provided by school officials to Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) arson investigators, the building comprised of 14 classrooms and housed several teaching materials, among other equipment.
After the fire was extinguished, fire fighters discovered nearly all of the rooms, including the library, were completely destroyed. The fire did not reach the school’s computer room as it was protected by a fire wall.
Other nearby buildings, including a church, did not suffer any damage.
Total damage is estimated at P11 million.
The BFP is currently looking into the possibility the fire may have been caused by an electrical short circuit./DGB, WDJ