LAOAG CITY, May 6– A big fire, allegedly ignited by falling welding rod ember, burned the warehouse of Motion Hardware along Gen. Segundo Avenue (Bacarra Road), this city this morning, Bureau of Fire Protection officials here reported.

City fire marshal Bonifacio Sacatrapos Jr. told reporters that a welder was working on a top portion of the warehouse when falling ember probably landed below on flammable materials that ignited the fire.

The blaze reached alert level 3 as flame rose high till the warehouse roofing. A concrete fire wall prevented the flame from spreading to adjacent private residential houses. For fear of fire wall collapse due to extreme heat, some nearby residents evacuated their personal belongings and other valuables to a safe place.

Firetrucks from Laoag and nearby towns quickly responded and helped contain the blaze. Firefighters from the Laoag airport also came to the succor.

It was an inferno in broad daylight, said a male radio reporter who first arrived at the fire scene. A woman panicked and collapsed at the height of the fire. She was rushed to the nearby hospital for treatment.

Thick black smoke coming from burning paints and other flammable materials inside the bodega engulfed the area and hampered rescuers from going near the fire scene. Rescuers later wore surgical masks given by City Hall disaster response team.

Estimated damage cost was placed at half-million pesos. No casualty was reported.

Meanwhile, at least five classrooms of the Shamrock Elementary School in Laoag City were gutted Friday, May 8 by pre-midnight fire of still unknown origin, BFP authorities said.
The burned classrooms were located in the second floor of the school building, said Fire Officer 2 Jomel Raval.

One of the barangay tanods who rushed to the burning school described the scene as inferno under the cover of darkness. Many residents near the fire scene were roused from their sleep and scampered for safety carrying with them their valuables.
At press time, estimated damage to property including textbooks and other paraphernalia was P800,000. (Theo S. Guiang with rr, bbr report)