10-hour fire hits UP faculty center
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - April 1, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Professors watched teary-eyed as their records went up in smoke in a 10-hour fire that razed the University of the Philippines (UP) faculty center in Diliman, Quezon City yesterday.

The fire broke out at the faculty center on the third floor of Rizal Hall at around 1:15 a.m., according to UP chancellor Michael Tan.

The blaze reached Task Force Alpha before it was declared out at 11:25 a.m., city fire marshal Superintendent Jesus Fernandez said.

Fernandez said the fire destroyed the building’s second and third floors housing the faculty of the College of Arts and Letters and College of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

The building also houses the dean’s office of the College of Arts and Letters, records section, department offices, a conference hall, an audio visual room and a theater, among others.

A branch of the Land Bank of the Philippines is located in the building.

Fernandez said over 50 fire trucks were sent to the site, which has an area of 2,000 square meters per floor.

Arson investigators are looking into faulty electrical wiring as the possible cause of the fire. Damage to property was placed at P3 million.

Classes suspended

Dean Amihan Bonifacio Ramolete of the College of Arts and Letters said classes were suspended yesterday.

Some faculty members holding classes at the adjacent Palma Hall building were given the discretion whether or not to suspend classes. 

Tan said the administrations of the two colleges affected by the fire were working on arrangements for temporary faculty rooms. 

He ordered all offices in the campus to hold meetings to review building policies on fire prevention. 

In June last year, separate fires struck the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association canteen and the university’s bowling alley. The university earlier announced its plan to put up a fire station inside the campus.  – With Romina Cabrera

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