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LOOK: Fire razes large part of Baguio market

by Aldwin Quitasol

Recently updated on March 13, 2023 10:32 am

BAGUIO CITY– For some budget-conscious tourists in the City of Pines, the trip will not be complete if they skip the ukay-ukay market where they can buy P10-P50 pre-loved clothes.

But it appears that all those trips are just memories for now.

A big fire engulfed a large portion of the Baguio City Public Market shortly before 12 midnight today, March 12.

Around 1,700 stalls were razed at Blocks 3 and 4 at the Hilltop section of the market, where sections for “wagwagan,” “pinikpikan” or poultry, fish, vegetable, and eateries are located.

No one was reported hurt during the fire that lasted for around five hours.

Baguio residents shocked

Residents woke up to sounds of sirens of fire trucks of Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Baguio around past 11 pm Saturday.

The fire spread quickly because of the sheer number of used clothing and other combustible materials, especially at the “wagwagan” stalls. 

Gas tanks from the eateries also exploded.

Aside from the wagwagan and food stalls, the fire also gutted the Baguio Market Cooperative office and the “kaldero” section located below Block 4.

Baguio residents were shocked to see fire engulfing their public market. This is the market the locals go to, different from the market regular tourists go to along Session Road.

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Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong came to the fire scene and said that it appears that the fire started at Block 4. Fire investigators have yet to identify the cause of the fire.

The fire burned the entire Block 4 and half of Block 3, sparing around 2,200 stalls. Baguio Fire Marshall Marisol Odiver estimated the initial cost of damage to be around P24 million.

Nearby firefighters busy

The main fire station of the BFP Baguio is located just more than a hundred meters from the public market. 

But firetrucks took a while to get to the public market as they came from the sub-fire station in Barangay Irisan, some 2 kilometers away.

Fire volunteers, Baguio Water District (BWD) employees, and owners of private water deliveries came to help douse the fire that was quickly consuming the area. 

Firefighters from nearby Benguet towns were called to help.

However, the reinforcements did not come right away because some firefighters were also busy putting out the forest fire in Camp 7 barangay near Mt. Sto. Tomas around 10:30 pm.

Firefighters from neighboring towns of La Trinidad and Tuba, Benguet came to the rescue.

Around 1:40 am Sunday, firefighters were able to contain the fire.

At 4:38 am, City Fire Marshal Supt. Marisol Odiver declared the fire has been fully extinguished.

Vendors appeal for help

Stall owner Lara Fontanilla appeals to authorities to assist them as they have to start all over again.

She sells fish at the basement of block 4 of the Baguio City Public Market. She said they will appeal to the city government to allow them to sell on the streets of the market so that they will still continue earning.

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