• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A three-hour fire gutted the Colegio De Sta. Rita main building in Brgy. 4, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental on Monday night, with the damage valued by arson probers at P18 million.
While probers of the Bureau of Fire and Protection have yet to determine the origin of the fire, Chief Inspector Rufino Tañedo, San Carlos City Fire Marshall, disclosed that the fire spread quickly as the school building was made of wood.
Tañedo reported that the fire destroyed several classrooms and materials located in the 2nd and 3rd floors of the school.
The school, considered a historical landmark in the city, was built in 1934 and is managed by the Augustinian Recollect sisters. It is located near the San Carlos Borromeo Cathedral.
Initial investigation of the Bureau of Fire and Protection showed that a security guard on duty heard an explosion, following a brownout.
Tañedo said the fire broke out past 6 p.m. Monday, and was declared under control past 9 p.m. Nobody was reported hurt in the incident.
Mayor Renato Gustilo, in a post on his Facebook account, said “Seeing this iconic building ablaze saddens me so much, just like all of us. It has long been the city’s mighty edifice for decades, that resembled as a great institution of quality Christian Education that shaped thousands of lives.”
“The building may have fallen, but the values and teachings remain, as its true foundations are those who passionately impart their knowledge to every student who seeks to learn, and wants to build a better future,” Gustilo said.
Classes in the school have been temporarily suspended, until further notice.
“Let us have faith and hope for Colegio De Sta. Rita continues to bring better education for all. CSR will rise again!,” the mayor said.*