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  • Writer's pictureMenchie Kinao

Discarded cigarettes caused Baguio market fire – BFP

Baguio City, Philippines – A discarded cigarette is to be blamed for the massive fire that gutted Baguio Public Market on March 11, 2023.

The five-hour fire razed Block 4 and most of Block 3, including the Caldero Section, displacing 1,642 vendors, and damaging an estimated P24 million worth of property.

Since the blaze, speculations emerged on the cause of the incident. Some said it was deliberately done, while others believed it was caused by electrical conductors.

The National headquarter of Bureau of Fire Protection, the investigating agency, dismissed such suspicions as it disclosed the origin of the fire.

In a letter dated June 14, City Fire Marshal Supt. Marisol Odive informed Mayor Benjamin Magalong of the final investigation report stating that the blaze was triggered by “embers of an unattended/discarded lighted cigarette that made contact with readily combustible materials at the bottom of the sack of clothes leading it to combust located the concrete column in the stall No. B 46.”

“After thorough examination of the facts of the case and the completed Fire Cause Determination and Analysis, this fire incident with Case Nr. BFB FAID-2023-MR-011 is recommended to be considered CLOSED and SOLVED for being ACCIDENTAL IN NATURE, without prejudice to reopening of the case in circumstances that new pieces of evidence and/or a witness may surface in the future,” stated the report through the City Public Information Office.

According to the bureau, the fire “most probably originated” at the “ground of the concrete column, north corner of Stall No. 46 located at Block 4 extension” or “ground level, single point fire origin traced within the proximity of 1.1 meters from the southeast wall.”

Other probable causes of fire including energized electrical conductors, appliance malfunction and/or machinery overheating, industrial hot works, open flame from cooking and lighted candles, frictions, and mechanical sparks were eliminated since such common hazards did not exist in the area of fire origin at the time the fire incident occurred.

The completion of the investigation report, it said, “shall be subject to the approval of the Office of the Fire Arson Investigation Division” of the national headquarter which holds jurisdiction over the case.


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