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Caloocan fire chief sacked over Gotesco blaze

A protracted fire has engulfed the Ever Gotesco Grand Central Mall in Caloocan City, lasting for more than three days.

The fire started at 10:45 p.m. last Friday (March 16), continuing up to more than 80 hours. It was finally extinguished at 7:25 Tuesday (March 20).

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has sacked Caloocal City Fire Marshal Supt. Oscar de Asis for the prolonged fire. Disgruntled tenants earlier complained that De Asis was heavily drunk when he responded to the fire. It was learned that De Asis was in a drinking session with some of his men and friends earlier at a bar on 10th Avenue in Caloocan City.

The tenants have complained De Asis’ inefficiency to Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri who in turn asked Robredo to investigate the case.

Reports have claimed that aside from inefficiency, De Asis have shown poor leadership among his men.

Fire investigators said the damage caused by the fire could rise to over PhP1 billion. The fire started at a Rusty Lopez outlet in the 2nd floor and spread to the 4th floor that accommodates the mall’s cinema, air conditioning and LPG tanks.

An inter-agency task force has been formed to investigate the cause of the fire with the Caloocan City Fire Station as its lead investigators. Robredo meanwhile, ordered a parallel investigation amid reports that it was a case of arson. Reports have claimed that firefighters were initially not allowed to enter the mall.

Tenants have also complained of corruption in the required Fire Incident Report issued by the BFP.