by Jun Ramos Guiang

LAOAG CITY, May 27, 2021–A seven-hour fire of unknown origin gutted the 3rd floor of the ME shopping center building at Abadilla St. adjacent to the city public market here today, BFP officials reported.

At least 20 fire trucks from the different local fire stations of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur under the Bureau of Fire Protection quickly responded to help contain the blaze that started in the morning and lasted mid-afternoon.

The boom truck of DPWH and water tanker of INWD (Prime Water) also rushed to the scene to help the fleet of responding BFP firefighters.

BFP authorities said there was no report of fatalities and injuries during the 7-hour fire that reached the 4th alarm.

Initial investigation showed that voluminous assorted merchandise such as clothing, plastic wares, and light materials, among others, inside the bodega at the building’s 3rd floor allegedly burned in the morning from an unknown origin as a thick cloud of dark smoke was seen billowing from the rooftop.

Firefighters, using high ladders, climbed the three-story building and forcibly broke the windows where the firefighters on the ground and aerial ladder trained their host into the flame that engulfed the top floor.

At press time, the cost of heavy damages in the property was not yet determined by the owners but kibitzers hinted it may run to millions of pesos.

The blaze footage was also seen by netizens via global live streaming on social media.

Meanwhile, the city government’s engineering office said it needs to tap the help of a structural expert to determine whether to repair or demolish the fire-ruined ME building.(JUN RAMOS GUIANG w/ reports from tri-media)