A fire believed to be caused by faulty electrical wiring hit the Faculty Center of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City before dawn Friday.
Affected were 150 offices or cubicles of most of the UP-Diliman professors as well as the College of Arts and Letters (CAL). Also known as Rizal Hall or Bulwagang Rizal, the building houses and faculty rooms of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. The UP Creative Writing Center is also housed at the Rizal Hall.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Text Fire Philippines said the blaze started at around 1 a.m., and was put under control at past 4 a.m. It reached the alarm Task Force Alpha. More than 20 fire trucks responded to the scene.
UP-Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan told DZRH News said one of the roving security guards saw something ignited in one of the rooms inside the building followed by an explosion.
Tan said most of the junior faculty members left important documents, lap top computers and even some academic documents intended for final grading. He said the whole building will be off limits and retrieval of any remaining property will be prohibited as the floors might collapse.
Tan said classes held at the College of Arts and Letters Building are suspended today, April 1, Friday. No suspension for other classes held elsewhere, he added. The UP official also noted that the UP-Diliman fire station was also burned many years ago.
Meanwhile, UP System assistant vice president for public affairs Jose Wendell Capili, a noted poet, said in his official Facebook account: “The faculty center is gone. Lost many books, furniture pieces from my parents and grandparents, paintings from friends and former students, precious memorabilia. sic transit gloria mundi.”
It was the third fire that hit the university since last year, when a school canteen CASAA was razed in June 2015 and the Alumni Center in July 2015. (Joel C. Atencio)