BAGUIO CITY – An early evening fire gutted a huge portion of one of the oldest structures in the city that caused heavy damages to property along Lower Session road, here, at around 7 pm.
Fire Chief Inspector Nestor Gorio, fire marshal of the Baguio fire department, claimed that the fire started in a still undetermined area of the 4-storey Pines Shopping Aracade, formerly Pines theatre, at around 7 pm before spreading in most parts of the building that was mostly made up of light materials.
The structure was built in the 1930s and now serve as a center for various garment, gadget shots, drug store, a religious center among others.
Gorio claimed that it took fire-fighters almost 2 hours to place the fire under control with the support from various water delivery suppliers and firemen from nearby La Trinidad and volunteers from the Sunshine fire brigade.
“Arson investigators are still conducting an investigation on the root cause of the fire that is why we still cannot come out with a conclusive report on the said fire incident,” Chief Inspector Gorio Stressed.
The Pines Shopping Arcade served as a venue for the former Pines theatre before it was converted to garment and gadget shops after the closure of the cinema that used to be in the said structure.
Established in the 1930s, the Pines Theater survived the carpet bombing of Baguio when allied forces liberated the country at the end of World War II. The landmark art deco building also survived the intensity 7.9 killer earthquake that rocked most parts of Northern Luzon, including Baguio city, in the afternoon of July 16, 1990.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan directed the Baguio fire department to fastrack the on-going investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire that ravaged the structure.
By Dexter A. See