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BFP says arson possible in rash of Manila commercial fires

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- The Bureau of Fire Protection is looking at the possibility of arson, likely to collect insurance, in the series of fires that have hit commercial buildings in Manila since last year.

Chief Inspector Gallo Macasinag, chief of the BFP’s investigation and intelligence division, told reporters in an interview that they are investigating the possibility that the five-day blaze that razed the New Divisoria Mall was “intentional” based on accounts from tenants of the establishment.

This suspicion has prompted the BFP to restrict entry to the burned structure until they have gathered enough evidence.

Macasinag said they are also looking for more witnesses to how the fire started but declined to say how long it would take for them to finish their investigation.

The fire at the New Divisoria Mall started early Thursday and reached Task Force Charlie. It was placed under control a day later but only put out early Monday.

The restrictions on entry to the mall, however, irked tenants seeking to salvage what they could from their wares.

When security guards tried to prevent them from entering the burned mall, angry tenants threw stones and bottles, hitting arson investigators who asked for help from the community police precinct.

The damage caused by the blaze has been estimated at P250 million.

Before the Divisoria fire, at least two other buildings housing commercial arcades have been gutted by fire since last year.

 

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