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Sunday, February 25, 2018 29° Clouds and sun

Commercial building owned by Velarde razed by fire


By Martin Sadongdong

A commercial building owned by El Shaddai group leader Bro. Mike Velarde was razed by fire past midnight today in Parañaque City.

Superintendent Robert Pasis, Parañaque fire marshall, said the blaze started at 12:41 a.m. at the Grocery Keeper Cooperative owned by Velarde on Ambel Street, Barangay San Dionisio.

Firefighters break a glass door open to extinguish a fire inside a establishment owned by El Shaddai's Bro. Mike Velarde in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City late Friday. It took firefighters at least four hours to extinguish the fire which razed a commercial area due to the debris, and flammable materials from the businesses in the area. Authorities reported that the fire destroyed around P2 million worth of properties. ( Jun Ryan Arañas )

Firefighters extinguish a fire inside an establishment owned by El Shaddai’s Bro. Mike Velarde in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City late Friday. ( Jun Ryan Arañas )

Pasis said the fire reached a canteen inside the building up to the adjacent Heavenly Inn Cafe and Restaurant.

The cause of fire is yet to be determined. It was put out at 3:54 a.m. after reaching the third alarm, Pasis said.

Although no injuries or fatalities were reported with about 100 tenants inside the building, Pasis said Velarde could face charges since there were no sprinklers in the establishment, according to initial investigation.

Velarde, in response, said he is planning to demolish the building and construct a call center office before the fire happened.

Aside from the grocery cooperative, an electronics store, office and an events place, where the “Family Appointment with El Shaddai” was supposed to be held today, were also destroyed by the blaze.

Rodante dela Cruz, an on-duty security guard, told arson investigators that he heard loud explosions before the fire.

Thinking there was a thief, Dela Cruz went inside the establishment only to find out the tenants and other guards rushing to get out of the commercial establishment.

Pasis placed at P2 million the value of destroyed properties but Velarde claimed the groceries inside the cooperative were valued at P10 million, while the 40,000 square- meter-warehouse itself was worth P40 million.

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