Caloocan City gov't wants DILG to declare Ever Gotesco Grand Central Mall a 'condemned building'

March 26, 2012 11:53 am 

MANILA, March 25 – Caloocan Mayor Enrico "Recom" Echiverri on Sunday said that he will recommend to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to declare the fire-damaged Ever Gotesco Grand Central Mall building condemned.

Ever Gotesco was gutted by fire from March 16 to 20.

Echiverri said the city government already formed a team of experts that would make a formal recommendation before DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo about preventing the mall from being used again.

City building officials were also set to talk to the management of Gotesco Investments, Inc., owner of the building, for the installation of safety nets that would protect nearby residents from any falling debris from Grand Central.

The DILG earlier formed a team of investigators that looked into the lengthy blaze at the mall.

The team was composed of representatives of different agencies such as the DILG, Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the city government of Caloocan.

Investigators found that the fire started from a shoe store on the 2nd floor of the building at about 10:45 p.m. on March 16 and spread to adjoining establishments in the mall.

Reports also said that mall security guards initially barred firefighters from entering the mall, 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 Ever Gotesco fire was considered the longest in Metro Manila.

Sacked in the aftermath of the incident was Caloocan 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 Senior Supt. Jeremy Diaz. (PNA)



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