By Yas Ocampo
DAVAO CITY – A historical heritage school building undergoing renovation was burned to the ground, leaving around 1,200 pupils here without classrooms when they return to school next week.
The Bureau of Fire Protection said that a fire razed the F. Bustamante Central Elementary School, in Tibungco, last Friday, July 20, around 7:30 p.m.
The blaze damaged an estimated P1.2 million worth of property, but no one was injured.
However, the pupils will have to look for alternative classrooms, as the fire gutted 14 classrooms.
Atty. Jenielito Atillo, Department of Education 11 spokesperson, said in an interview that the fire damaged classrooms, including a 90-year-old Gabaldon type classroom that was undergoing historical preservation work after being around since the 1930s.
The fire totally damaged 13 classrooms, including the SPED building and the alternative learning systems.
Also damaged were the principal’s office, the property room, the numeracy and faculty rooms, as well as a branch of the City Library and the Pagcor building in the area.
The DepEd estimated the fire will affect 1,285 students.
But Atillo said the DepEd will be working on places where emergency classes for Grades 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 could be held.
The school’s security guard, SG Edito Tagbilaran, said he first saw the fire at the ALS room at the main building.
Fire investigators believe the blaze was caused by an electrical short circuit.
Fire out was declared at 10:14 p.m., after the fire reached the second alarm.