Published: Saturday 06 January, 2018

Fire at Metro Ayala Mall Cebu Continues Amid Reports Sprinklers Did Not Work

Fire fighters continue to battle the blaze inside Metro Ayala Mall in Cebu. Authorities said they have stopped the fire from spreading but it continues in contained areas. Officials have yet to confirm reports that the mall’s sprinkler system malfunctioned.

Metro Ayala fire

Fire at the Metro Ayala Mall in Cebu continues. (Image via SuperBalita Cebu)

The fire started before 10:00 PM on Friday. The management of Metro Ayala confirmed that it started on the third floor of the department store inside Ayala Center Cebu at the Cebu Business Park. Specifically, it was traced to the stockroom of the toys department.

In a statement, they said smoke was detected at around 9:30 PM.

“The Metro Ayala Emergency Brigade Team and Ayala Center Cebu Emergency Brigade Team are working with the Bureau of Fire and other emergency response teams to manage the situation. All customers and personnel were safely evacuated,” the Metro Ayala statement said.

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As of Saturday morning, authorities said the fire has not spread to the Ayala Center Cebu although the mall remains closed due to the smoke.

Fire fighters used two large jackhammers to destroys walls of Metro Ayala so that smoke could get out. Thick smoke and extreme heat filled the Metro Ayala building and firemen, who lacked breathing apparatus, could not enter to fight the blaze. There was also zero visibility inside.

Meanwhile, cracks can already be seen on the building and it may be necessary to demolish the structure even after the fire has been out out. The extreme heat may have compromised the integrity of the concrete.

This is the second mall fire to hit the south within a month. Before Christmas, the NCCC Mall in Davao City was destroyed by a fire that started on the building’s third floor and quickly spread. Thirty-eight people died in the NCCC Mall blaze – call center employees who were trapped on the fourth floor.