P100,000 goes up in flames in Baguio Christmas tree blaze

Micaella Ilao, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2017 07:10 PM

Video courtesy of Darwin Walter

BAGUIO CITY – Only ashes and debris were left after Baguio City’s much-adored Christmas tree in Burnham Park was destroyed in a fire.

A video clip that went viral on social media showed the tree burning at around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

According to Superintendent Joe Fernand Bangyod, Baguio fire department head, the fire was not caused by an electrical problem, as decorative lights had been turned off. 

City workers started to dismantle the tree last week.

"Ang tinitignan natin dito baka, may passer-by na nagtapon ng upos ng sigarilyo (We suspect that a passer-by threw a lit cigarette near the tree)," Bangyod said.

The City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO), which built the Christmas tree, said the damage may cost the local government more than P100,000.

The materials used to build the tree were supposed to be reused next Christmas season.

"This is taxpayers' money. We did this to make the people happy. Hindi sana ito maulit, sayang kasi nasunog lang (We hope this will not happen again, because it's such a waste),” said Engineer Nazita Banez, head of CBAO.

Authorities are continuing their investigation on the incident.