Arson suspected in Tutuban mall fire

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2012 06:15 PM | Updated as of Sep 09 2012 07:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Stall owners of Tutuban Mall in Divisoria, Manila suspect that the 2-day fire that gutted Cluster 1 was intentional.

The stall owners said the incident may have been linked to their refusal to renew their contract with the mall management.

They said some of the owners were considering leaving Tutuban because of the high renewal rights fee, reportedly costing P2.2 million.

The owners also said that based on fire volunteers’ accounts, the building’s water sprinklers malfunctioned and the fire hoses lacked water supply.

The mall’s security guard was also replaced days before the fire, further fueling speculations that the incident was planned.

The stall owners also alleged that money from their cash registers was stolen by several firefighters.

The management of Tutuban Mall, meanwhile, said they cannot prevent stall owners from expressing their dismay over the incident.

They urged the owners to file their complaints at the mall’s help desk. -- Report from Dominic Almelor, ABS-CBN News