A DAWN fire struck the second floor of the Mandaue City Hall on Thursday, June 11, 2020.
Destroyed was the office of the City Council, while the offices of the vice mayor and the Public Information Office suffered water damage.
SFO2 Edgar Vergara, fire investigator, said their initial investigation showed that the fire started at 2:49 a.m. near an air-conditioning unit inside the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP).
Mayor Jonas Cortes, in a separate interview, said that particular air-conditioning unit had not been unplugged for some time because the outlet was too high.
However, Vergara said that when they checked the breaker, it was off.
He said they will secure a copy of the security camera footage to check the last person who left the SP Office.
Due to the presence of paper files and documents inside, the flames quickly spread.
Vergara said they also found disinfectants in the scene, but they still had to check if these were combustible and flammable.
He clarified that it was impossible for the disinfectants to cause the fire. He said they’re looking at faulty wiring or arson.
However, they still have to send the electrical wires and dust samples to their laboratory for examination.
Damage estimates were placed at P300,000.
Cortes has advised suspending regular work and services at City Hall to clean the building and to assess the damage in the affected areas.
He said the SP Office can temporarily move to the second floor of the Mandaue City Public Market, while Vice Mayor Glenn Bercede can occupy the session hall. But Bercede’s staff will have to stop what they’re doing when the council is in session.
The mayor advised City Hall employees to be extra careful, especially with the electrical wiring.
He said sprinklers will be installed in all existing government offices and future government buildings.
Meanwhile, Frelyn Mabanag, the SP secretary, said she was worried about the files inside the SP Office, which included city ordinances, among others.
However, she assured that they have backup files of the records. She said files from 1969 to the present are stored in the mother computer of the SP. Other files that were damaged could always be reprinted, she said. (KFD)