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3 fires hit Metro during blackout

- Mike Frialde () - November 6, 2001 - 12:00am
Three separate fires hit Manila as darkness gripped Luzon during last Sunday night’s power blackout, damaging property worth at least P4 million and injuring two persons, including a fireman.

The fires raged from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and razed houses made of light materials in Tondo, Sampaloc and Intramuros.

Reports from the Manila Fire Department said the first fire happened at about 7:30 p.m., in a two-story apartment at 987-L Interior 4, Dagupan St., Tondo. The fire quickly spread to 10 adjacent houses.

Rolando Ensipido, 24, a resident of Dagupan St., suffered first-degree burns on the right side of the body and Senior Fire Officer 2 Romeo Laureño was injured in the upper left arm while trying to put out the fire, reports said.

Arson investigators placed the damage to property at P1 million. The fire was declared out at 8:52 p.m.

The second fire broke out at about 9:21 p.m., at a two-story residential house at 1954 Mindanao corner Mindoro streets in Sampaloc.

The blaze, which reached Task Force Charlie level, spread to five other adjacent apartments before it was put out at 10:05 p.m. Damage to property was placed at P2.5 million.

At about 1:21 a.m., the third fire broke out at a two-story barong-barong at 436 Legaspi St., Intramuros, Manila.

The blaze spread to 40 other adjacent shanties before firemen put it out at about 2:17 a.m. The fire reached the fifth alarm level and left at least P800,000 in property damage.

Arson investigators theorized that the fires were caused by unattended candles or kerosene lamps lit during the blackout. The Luzon-wide blackout, according to the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) was caused by a malfunction at the Sual power plant in Pangasinan.

Meanwhile, seven persons were hurt, including a three-year-old boy, after the shotgun of a security guard detailed at the Tutuban Mall in Divisoria, Tondo, accidentally went off Sunday afternoon.

Western Police District reports identified those injured as Samuel Bautista, 3, of Multinational Village, Parañaque City; his mother Lorena, 23; Nicolas Samante, 50; Beato Barbosa, 17; Alvin Sarmiento, 20; Lourdes Trillana, 36, of Sta. Mesa, Manila; and Alona Sarmiento, 26, of Quezon City. The victims were then rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds.

Security Guard Dario Guardiano, 20, of 251 Benita St., Gagalangin, Tondo, an employee of the Sir Galahad Security Agency and detailed at the Cebuana Lhuillier pawnshop inside the Tutuban Mall was arrested by police.

Investigation showed Guardiano was about to relieve a fellow guard about 4:45 p.m. when he accidentally dropped the shotgun causing it to fire. The shot then wounded the strolling victims.

Guardiano was taken to the Moriones, Tondo (WPD Station 2) for investigation and the filing of appropriate charges.  Nestor Etolle

ALONA SARMIENTO ALVIN SARMIENTO BEATO BARBOSA BENITA ST. CEBUANA LHUILLIER DAGUPAN ST. FIRE GUARDIANO L INTERIOR LEGASPI ST. TUTUBAN MALL
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