A fire of still unknown origin razed Kidapawan City’s Marta Superstore on Thursday night, causing alarm among residents still on general community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis, fire officials said.
Arson investigators have yet to determine what triggered the conflagration that struck at 8:15 p.m. amid a heavy downpour in the area.
The store’s lone security guard, who was staying outside the closed establishment, said he smelled something burning from inside so he opened the “roll up-roll down” door only to find a huge fire already eating up flammable materials inside.
He also heard explosions believed to have been caused by a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank inside, although he clarified that the store does not sell LPG but uses one or two for cooking food inside.
“The flammable materials inside the store made the fire difficult to contain,” Kidapawan City Fire Marshall Major Leilani Bangelis said.
Investigators were looking into an electrical short circuit, overload, or unattended electrical appliances as the possible source of the fire.
Initial assessment placed the cost of damage at PHP18 million, Bangelis said. (PNA)