Boracay fire leaves hundreds of businesses in ashes

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Boracay fire
The fire at the height of its destructive power this morning. Photograph taken by Christine Siddré

At least 150 businesses were destroyed by a huge fire on Boracay Island early this morning (Monday, September 18).

The fire tore through souvenir shops, restaurants, grocery stores, money changers, boarding houses at the D’Talipapa-Boracay in Sitio Manggayad.

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Acting Provincial Fire Marshall Rowel Limjuco told Rappler that the damage done was estimated at 10 million pesos.

The fire, about 20 metres from the main road of Barangay Balabag, started at about 4.45am and declared under control at 9.30am. It was fully extinguished shortly after midday.

Three fire trucks were transported to tackle the Boracay fire from the mainland by barge.

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Mr Limjuco said two volunteer firefighters suffered minor injuries while tackling the flames. No other casualties have been reported.

What caused Boracay fire?

The Bureau of Fire Protection is continuing to investigate the cause and origin of fire.

The exact damage to property is yet to be assessed. However, Malay municipal councillor Nenette Aguirre-Graf told The Inquirer that about 90 per cent of D’Talipapa, which had nearly 100 stalls, was burned. She added that parts of neighbouring resorts and boarding houses were also damaged.

At least 500 residents were affected by the fire, which also damaged five private houses and displaced seven families.

Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling has now called an emergency meeting with Joint Task Force Boracay, Boracay Action Group, barangay captains of Balabag and Manoc-Manoc, as well as municipal department heads of Malay.

Boracay was last hit by a major fire on Christmas Eve 2015. The blaze started alongside the main road of Sitio Ambulong in Barangay Manoc-Manoc. It then spread quickly to neighbouring houses, gutting more than 50 structures. No casualties were reported, and an investigation suggested “electrical connections” as a probable cause.

UPDATE: According to the latest reports, the fire destroyed 58 wet market tables, 126 restaurants and souvenir stalls and 32 tiangge or small stores.

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