March 25, 2012
Noting its weakened structure, the local government of Caloocan will ask the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to have the Ever Gotesco Grand Central Mall building totally condemned after it was gobbled up by fire last March 16.
Caloocan City Mayor Enrico “Recom” Echiverri has already formed a team of experts that would make a formal recommendation before DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo about preventing the mal from being used again.
City building officials are also set to talk to the management of Gotesco Investments, Inc. (GII) for the installment of safety nets that would protect nearby residents from any falling debris from Grand Central.
Earlier formed was a team of investigators that would look into the lengthy blaze at the mall. The team is composed of different agencies such as the DILG, Department of Justice (DOJ), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the city government of Caloocan.
It can be recalled that fire broke out within the mall at 10:30 p.m., with the origin of the flames later traced at a shoe store in the first floor of the building.
Reports also said that mall security guards initially barred firefighters from entering Grand Central, causing the flames to spread and consume the whole building.
It took the firefighters over three days before they could finally declare “fire out” at exactly 7:25 a.m., March 20.
Although nobody died during the blaze, some 17 members of the BFP and fire volunteer brigade were injured during the extensive fire response. The fire itself is believed to be the longest in Metro Manila.
Sacked in the aftermath of the incident was City Fire Marshall, Supt. Oscar de Asis, who was reported to intoxicated and asleep when Grand Central was being gutted by flames. He was replaced by Sr. Supt. Jeremy Diaz.
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