mayor benjie magalong at the baguio city market after the massive fire, photo by neil ongchangco

Mayor Benjie: Market Fire Requires Forensic Investigation

In the aftermath of the Baguio City Public Market fire on the night of March 11 that razed around 1,700 stalls within and around Blocks 3 and 4, Mayor Benjie Magalong sought the Bureau of Fire Protection to conduct forensic investigations to primarily identify the cause and also determine safe spaces in and around the affected areas.

“It requires forensics. Hindi basta-basta visual ‘yan,” Mayor Benjie said in an interview.

Amidst the speculations that the market fire was intentional, the mayor is determined to know the facts. He added, “Diyan natin malalaman kung paano talaga nag-umpisa and it will be conducted by the Bureau of Fire Protection to once and for all dispel the intrigues and lies being spread.”

City Fire Marshal Supt. Marisol Odiver initially reported that the fire started at the wagwagan (second-hand dry goods) section of Block 4 Extension.

Immediately the following morning, various local government agencies were mobilized to provide aid to the affected vendors. Law enforcement also took an active role to maintain order within and around the vicinity.

Furthermore, Mayor Benjie urged concerned government agencies as well as encouraged the private sector to participate in a week-long cleanup drive. He stressed that bringing back normalcy in the public market operations would help bring back livelihood as well as avoid further losses for the affected vendors.

“I have given out a tall order on Sunday that we need to restore market operations in seven days. It is an ambitious project and undertaking but we have to push ourselves to the limit so we can bring back the livelihood of vendors who were affected by the fire,” the mayor said.

Authorities declared fire out on March 12 at 4:38AM. About one-fourth of the market was affected by the massive fire. Initial cost of damages was estimated to be at P24 million.