Investigators of the fire that gutted the Star City amusement park in Pasay City said the fire appeared to have been deliberately set on fire.
According to Pasay City Fire Marshal Paul Pili, the pieces of evidence and samples that they had collected inside the amusement park point to arson.
Pili said the investigation showed that parts of the gutted amusement park indicated that there “gasoline in an area where it should not be.”
The Star City erupted in flames at 12:22 a.m. Wednesday. The fire was believed to have started in the stockroom of plushies and an assortment of prizes.
The flames quickly spread to other parts of the building and huge plumes of smoke were seen billowing into the sky. The fire was brought under control after almost four hours at 4:30 a.m. on the same day.
Pili said they came up with the arson angle because of the way the fire spread inside the complex.
He added that a certain Mr. Wong along with some personnel went inside the Star City complex with sacks of cotton on the day the fire happened. The personnel, however, did not log in.
“Bakit hindi nag-logbook? Nag log-book siya pero hindi niya ni-logbook mga kasama niya,” Pili said.
Pili said there is a possibility that the officers of the Star City Corporation themselves may have started the fire.
He, however, said that authorities have yet to obtain the amusement park owners’ testimony.
He said that Star City Corporation officers would be summoned to present financial documents given that the complex’s fire safety inspection certificate is set to expire in October this year.
This means that if a third party caused the fire, the building is still covered by insurance.
“We will look into it kung sila ba ay nalulugi o hindi. Doon makikita ‘yung motibo kasi mahirap i-pinpoint kung sino nagsunog,” Pili said.
The management of Star City, however, rejected Pili’s statement, saying That there was no reason for the owners to set the theme park on fire because business is good and the Christmas season would also mean more profit.
“We are not aware of any motive, including financial gain, that would induce the commission on arson specially on the part of Star City as the business is profitable and a bumper Christmas season was expected,” it said in a statement.
It added that the gasoline noticed by fire investigators was used to run a certain ride within the theme park.
The bringing in of cotton, on the other hand, is normal because cotton filling is used to stuff toys that serve as prizes in games.
“In fact, most if not all of the stuffed toys are filled with cotton.
Almost all theme parks, including those outside of the Philippines, sell or give as prizes, stuffed toys in the ordinary course of their business,” Star City said.
“We feel that it was inappropriate, to say the least, to release statements to media first regarding arson as the cause of fire when the investigation is not clearly concluded and before taking up such matter with Star City’s management, the principal party concerned,” it added.
Star City had said that it plans to resume operation in time for the Christmas season but it would need clearance from the Bureau of Fire Protection.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.