Jan. 10, 4:34 p.m.Maintenance staff clears up burnt debris from the Pharmacy faculty room fire incident. Photo by John Daniel J. HirroFire hit the Main Building early this morning – someone forgot to switch off the electric fan at the computer lab of the Faculty of Pharmacy.

The incident at the second floor of the 84-year-old heritage structure, which was blamed by investigators on “dielectric heating” in the fan, forced the suspension of classes at Pharmacy and the College of Science. Fire at the learning resource unit spread to the Pharmacy faculty room.

The UST security office said security guard Nocel Escarda heard the building’s fire alarm at 4:10 in the morning, a few hours before classes were to resume after Monday’s Black Nazarene procession in Quiapo.

Security guard Darius Casilana, who was at the security office during the incident, called the fire station. Four fire trucks – from the Raja Sulaiman fire volunteers’ group, the Sampaloc fire department, FFAG fire volunteers, and Chinese-Filipino fire volunteers – responded. Authorities declared fire out at 5:30 a.m. There were no injuries.

Sampaloc Fire Department inspector Crisfo Diaz said the cause of fire was “dielectric heating” of the Pharmacy computer lab’s electric fan that was left plugged in, apparently over the weekend. Security chief Joseph Badinas confirmed this. “`Yung nakikita ng expert na dielectric heating o `yung mga naiiwang gamit na nakasaksak, ito `yung cause ng incident,” Badinas said.

As of posting time, all offices in the Main Building have opened.

The Faculty of Civil Law was not included in the suspension of classes. B. D. Nicolas with reports from B. B. Tabora


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