Bidding documents lost in DPWH office blaze

Posted on September 30, 2012


by Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondent


Firefighters train their hoses on the burning two-storey DPWH Cebu 5th engineering district at Vicente Sotto street, baranagay Tinago. (JUNJIE MENDOZA)

About  P1.2-million worth of property  including project documents and engineering equipment were lost in Friday’s  fire  in barangay Tinago, Cebu City.

The fire, which struck at 6:55 p.m.,  damaged  the office of the 5th engineering district of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Central Visayas on S. Osmeña Street corner V. Sotto Street at MacArthur Boulevard.

Among the documents lost in the fire were  bidding papers for the P72 million road asphalting project from Liloan to Borbon towns in north Cebu.

The bidding was scheduled on Oct. 7, said  Yusoph Rasuman, Cebu 5th district engineer.

F03 Lowel Opolentisima, fire investigator of the Cebu City fire department, said they are looking into all angles including arson.

Last Friday’s fire was completley put out at 1 a.m but another fire broke out at 9:33 a.m yesterday morning.

It was put out almost immediately.

Samples of  debris will be sent to Manila for investigation.

Security guard Ariel Flores who was first to notice the fire will be invited for questioning. .

Flores said he switched off the lights and airconditions when he hecked all rooms of the building after employees left at 5 p.m. on Friday.

He said he also turned off the circuit breakers of the airconditioners.

Flores said he then noticed smoke coming out of the  ceiling of the second floor area which was under  renovation. Flores said he tried to put the fire out to no avail.

The  area used to be occupied by the maintenance engineer before his retirement.

The DPWH has yet to submit an inventory of items that were  destroyed but officials said these include  important project documents and equipment, including testing equipment stored in the stockroom.

The ground floor  used to house the office of the resident auditor of DPWH and the  Bids and Awards Committee.

The two-storey building was built in the 1970s and had five sections excluding the Commission on Audit (COA) office at the ground floor, Rasuman said.

“Projects with budgets below P50 million are directly supervised by the 5th engineering district.  Documents  are kept in their office,” said DPWH-7 spokesperson Marie Nillama.

Aside from Liloan and Borbon towns, Cebu’s 5th district also covers Compostela, Danao City, the towns of Carmen, Catmon and Sogod and the four towns of San Francisco, Poro, Tudela and Pilar in the Camotes Group of Islands.

Neighboring offices were not unaffected by the fire./ With Correspondents Chito Aragon and Jessa Chrisna Marie J. Agua

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