Haze alert as Cebu mall expected to burn for two more days

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Cebu mall
Picture by SkyScraperCity – Cebu, via Facebook

A haze alert has been announced over Cebu Business Park as Metro Ayala Center continues to burn.

The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) today (Saturday, January 6) said it would take two more days to fully extinguish the fire.

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The blaze broke out in the stockroom of a toy department on the third floor just as the mall was about to close yesterday evening.

Employees and customers were safely evacuated. No casualties have been reported.

Announcing the fire, mall spokesman Vince Tomaning said: “The Metro Ayala and Ayala Center Cebu Emergency Brigade Teams are closely working with the Bureau of Fire and other emergency response teams to manage the situation. All customers and personnel were safely evacuated, there are no casualties and serious injuries reported.

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“At of this time, the firefighters are still working on putting off the fire. The management of Metro Gaisano would like to thank everyone, the firefighters, the volunteers, the government personnel, its employees, concerned citizens, and all those who have helped and assisted in putting off the fire.”

Cebu City Fire Department received the alarm at about 9.30pm and raised it to Task Force Alpha. This calls for all fire stations in the city to respond.

The Metro Ayala Emergency Brigade Team, the Ayala Center Cebu Emergency Brigade Team and volunteers also helped tackle the blaze.

As of 11pm yesterday, firefighters were still struggling to make it past the thick black smoke and reach the third floor.

Then, at 3am this morning, the fourth floor of the Cebu mall collapsed.

By noon, the fire had spread to the second storey, prompting another increase of the alarm to Task Force Bravo. This calls for all fire crews from Lapu-Lapu City, neighbouring towns and cities to respond.

Cebu mall fire health risk

CCDRRMO chief Nagiel Bañacia said, “Everyone living or staying near Cebu Business Park, who have cardio-vascular problem, is advised to temporarily evacuate or transfer to safer area due to heavy hazardous or toxic fumes from the ongoing fire at Metro Gaisano Ayala.

“For those who have respiratory problems in Barangays Kamputhaw, Luz, Hipodromo, Mabolo and Lahug, please visit your health centre. These centres are now open manned by personnel from City Health Department led by Doctor Alice Aycardo. City health personnel are also roaming around these barangays to check on possible health concerns. City Ambulance Service is on standby to assist.”

The Cebu mall fire follows close on the heels of the disastrous mall blaze in Davao, in which 38 people perished.

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