Fire breaks out at UP Diliman campus

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A fire broke out at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus in Quezon City early Friday (April 1).

The fire began at the third floor of the Faculty Center building at around 1:20 a.m. and reached Task Force Alpha at 2:20 a.m. Task Force Alpha is a call code to send all firetrucks to the scene.

According to the Twitter page of the Philippine Collegian, the university's official school paper, around 20 fire trucks were at the scene at around 2:46 a.m. to help put out the blaze.

 

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) declared the fire under control at around 4:40 a.m.

The fire was declared out at 11:25 a.m.

 

Authorities said faulty electrical wiring could have caused the blaze.

Supt. Crisfo Diaz, Bureau of Fire Protection-National Capital Region (BFP-NCR) assistant regional director, said a witness first observed electrical wiring problems in the building less than a year ago.

BFP estimates the structural damage cost at about P3 million.

One fireman sustained minor injuries while trying to contain the fire.

UPD Chancellor: Loss of memories, work painful

UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan said the damaged building is old. It was built in the 1960s.

It is occupied by the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) and the College of Arts and Letters (CAL).

A total of 250 members of the faculty have offices in the building which has been a treasure trove of a lot of research papers, books, paintings and precious memorabilia.

The building's conference room is considered a historical site because symposiums and fora had been held there even before the Martial Law era.

"Iyan ang pinakamasakit dito more than the physical things is the loss of memories and a lot of work," Tan said.

[Translation: "That is what's most painful..."]

According to Tan, faculty members displaced by the fire might be temporarily housed at the pavilions of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

He added the fire did not reach parts of the building's first floor, but the entire Faculty Center will be declared off limits once the blaze is put out as its floors might be in danger of collapsing.

 

All classes at the CAL were cancelled on Friday due to the fire.

Netizens react

This is not the first blaze that hit the university.

Two fires in the campus were recorded in 2015: one hit the Alumni Center in July, and another gutted the food court in June.

Netizens followed the news of the fire on Twitter, posting their reactions as photos of the blaze spread out online.

CNN Philippines correspondent Yumi Lugod contributed to this report.