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Damage to reach Php300 million in Master Square fire

NAGA CITY (July 5, 2013) – A four-hour blaze that gutted the Master Square Department Store Supermarket and Fastfood at Barangay Abella early morning of Thursday (July 4) resulted in damages reaching nearly Php300 Million, according to a kin of the late owner Rosendo Dy.

The unofficial damage figure includes the cost of the entire Master Square complex and facilities and millions of pesos worth of merchandise that were totally destroyed in the blaze.

Master Square security guard, Joseph Ayen of the Anti-Crime Security Agency, told reporters at the fire scene that the blaze started at 3:00 A.M. Thursday after an explosion was heard inside a padlocked warehouse located at the back of the main building.

According to Ayen, he informed the warehouse manager of the explosion. But the warehouse was totally engulfed by fire in minutes.

Despite the arrival of numerous fire trucks from the neighboring towns of Calabanga, Sipocot, Pamplona, San Fernando and a modern Nippon fire truck donated by Japanese industrialist in Camaligan town, firefighters could not control the conflagration because of low water supply from the few fire hydrants along Abella and J. Hernandez streets.

Naga Mayor John Bongat, who was at the fire scene lauded the efficiency of the volunteer fire brigades “Chin Po Tong” and “Naga White” who were well-equipped with fire fighting gears and ladders that hoisted firefighters up to the top floor of the three-storey Master Square Complex.

Mayor Bongat also said that the fire incident should prompt the Naga City government to replace its aging fire hydrants and connecting water pipes that in this incident were unable to sustain the flow of large quantity of water needed to put out fire in Naga’s taller buildings.

Mopping-up of small pockets of fires continued until mid-day of Thursday.

Spokespersons of the Naga City Bureau of Fire Protection said that an official incident report of the blaze, including valuation of damages, will take some time to complete.

Classes at all levels at the nearby University of Nueva Caceres were suspended because of thick smoke that lingered inside the university campus.

The Master Square commercial complex was built by the late owner Rosendo Dy in 1988 and was among the first mini-mall commercial complex in Naga, established ahead of Robertson Department Store complex that started operation in 1989. (SONNY SALES)