Task force nears completion of probe on NCCC Mall fire

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The anti-arson task force is nearing the completion of the probe over the tragic fire at a local shopping center here last month.

Fire Senior Superintendent Jerry Candido, spokesperson of the Interagency Anti-Arson Task Force, said Saturday, January 6 they are targeting to finish the investigation in “one to two weeks” time.

Candido said once all the documents are complete, they can ascertain who are responsible and the extent of their accountabilities necessary in filing charges.

​B​y Monday, January 8, they will receive the findings of the City Engineers Office (CEO) responsible for the building structure.

The task force, he said, is still discussing whether to turn over the building to the mall owners. After the CEO has provided them the findings, they will decide whether to turn over the responsibility over the building to mall owners or not.

“If we turn it over to them, they could enter the premises and if the building collapses then the blame might return to us,” he told Davao Today.

The task force is expected to come up with recommendation, even amendment to the fire code after the probe is completed.

Candido stressed that the fire code’s building inspection during construction period should be strictly observed.

“That is the only way to ensure that specifications stated in the code is followed by the building contractor,” he added.

Meanwhile, some of the tenants at the ground level of the mall are being allowed to enter the promises to retrieve their cash earnings left when the fire hit the mall on December 23.

Candido did not give specific numbers of the tenants who requested for clearance, but he said there were many.

Tenants, he said, are only allowed to take the cash and spoiling food stocks for owners of restaurants and food carts. Candido said spoiled foods cause health hazards.(davaotoday.com)