Arson eyed on Star City fire; management denies allegation
Fire investigators are now focusing on arson as the possible cause of fire that razed an amusement park in Pasay City. However, the management of Star City said it was "inappropriate" for the probers to issue such statement since investigation is still ongoing.
Pasay City Fire Marshal Superintendent Paul Pili conducted on Sunday a walk through inspection inside Star City where he disclosed that there could be arson in the incident last Wednesday.
Pili said one of the areas where the fire originated was at the “Pirate Adventure.”
Pirate Adventure involved a boat ride and this was located, along with the food court, outside the amusement park.
“In the minds of the investigators, there is already arson but this should be proved,” Pili told reporters after the inspection.
“There is a presence of combustible material… we saw a gasoline, it is not necessary in that place (and) because of that, we now believe it is already an arson case,” he added.
The fire marshal said the boats used were not mechanically functioning, thus, there was no need for gasoline.
Pili said the result of the almost 20 samples they sent to their arson laboratory would be released within a week to determine if there were other areas inside the Star City compound where fire originated.
He admitted that they were looking into the incident as if there were simultaneous fires in the vicinity.
“We can see on the pattern (of the simultaneous burning) which (is) to be confirmed by arson laboratory,” he said.
The fire investigators were ruling out faulty electrical wiring as the cause of the incident since the establishment was closed when the conflagration happened.
“We set aside the electrical (problem) because it (establishment) is shut down when they don’t have operation. It is part of their SOP (standard operating procedures) and it is the testimony of their electrical engineer,” said Pili.
With regard to the suspect, he said it is possible that one of the tenants burned the establishment.
“We are eyeing on the owner of the Star Games because they brought cotton inside that night. A certain Mr. Wong and his companions entered. They did not sign on the logbook,” Pili said.
He said it is hard to pinpoint at someone so they need to find out first what could be the motive.
Pili said they will also summon the members of the corporation to give their statement and show documents, such as financial records, for them to find out what is the status of the company.
“You can check through that if they have motive. If the company is going bankrupt,” he said, adding that if that was the case, the owner could claim for insurance.
He said the Star City has a fire safety inspection certificate that is set to expire on October 23.
In a statement, Star City management debunked the allegation of the Bureau of Fire that the incident was a case of arson.
Star City spokesperson Ed de Leon said it is “inappropriate” to issue such statement when the investigation is not yet clearly concluded.
“We feel that it was inappropriate, to say the least, to release statements to media first regarding arson as the cause of fire when the investigation is not clearly concluded and before taking up such matter with Star City’s Management, the principal party concerned,” De Leon said.
He added there was gasoline inside the Star City Complex because there was a ride that ran on gasoline, particularly the Bumper Boat.
“We are not aware of any motive, including financial gain, that would induce the commission on arson specially on the part of Star City as the business is profitable and a bumper Christmas Season was expected,” he said.
“The circumstances earlier cited in the media cannot therefore be conclusive that there was arson,” he added. Ella Dionisio/DMS