The Bureau of Fire Protection has declared the fire at Ayala Center Cebu’s Metro Department Store and Supermarket was declared under control yesterday afternoon, with damages initially pegged at P100 million.
BFP-Central Visayas director Samuel Tadeo said the blaze, while it has yet to be declared a fire-out, can no longer affect other establishments in the mall.
Senior Fire Officer 2 Christopher Orbiso only the shoe section of the department store on the second floor remained on fire.
Firemen had difficulty entering the building as the structure has weakened and the upper floors were in danger of collapsing. By 3 a.m. Saturday, the fourth floor of Metro Ayala already collapsed.
Employees and customers of the department store, which is within the Ayala Center Cebu mall, safely got out of the establishment when the fire started Friday evening.
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines is calling for a joint fire safety audit of all malls nationwide following the two separate fire incidents in Davao and Cebu.
“It is outrageous to see another fire taking place in Metro Ayala mall and Gaisano mall in Cebu City when just 15 days ago 38 workers perished in NCCC Mall fire in Davao City. These are not isolated incidents. There is a widespread violation of malls owners to fire safety standards and compromise the safety of mall goers and well-being of mall workers to cut costs and make bigger profit for themselves,” TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said.
“The ongoing Metro Ayala Mall and the Gaisano mall and the NCCC Mall fires are symptoms of the wanton disregard of department store owners to go around our building safety laws and ignore workplace policy on workers’ health and safety. We have to find out other malls nationwide how safe or how fire-risks these are,” he added.
lan Tanjusay, spokesman of the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP, said a fire safety audit must be conducted.
“Fire safety audit to all malls is important because workers work here and children, old folks and entire families consider malls as home. It is the place for work, recreation and business. Malls have become very important place in the community, but how safe are our malls in the light of these twin mall fatal fire incidents?” Tanjusay said.