Fire hit the Main Building last Jan. 10—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 national heritage structure, blamed by investigators on “dielectric heating” in the fan, forced the suspension of classes at the Faculty of Pharmacy and College of Science.

Initial reports said the fire at the learning resource unit spread to the Pharmacy faculty room.

The UST Security Office said security guard Nocel Escarda heard the fire alarm at 4:10 a.m., hours before classes were to resume after the 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 Sulayman Fire Volunteers’ Group, the Sampaloc fire department, Fire Emergency Paramedic Assistance Group 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 confirmed that the cause of fire was “dielectric heating” of the Pharmacy computer laboratory’s electric fan.

Pharmacy’s Faculty club president Corazon Unas said no one should be blamed as the electric fan was not functioning properly. “Actually, [the electric fan] was not working and we cannot blame anyone because we didn’t know,” she said. “It was an accident.”

Pharmacy Student Council president Dohn Nonito Tuazon said that among the equipment damaged by fire were newly installed computers with files of the Pharmacy alumni association.

As of press time, the estimate of damages was still being computed, the Security Office and Facilities Management Office (FMO) said.

Foreign miners denounced

Tuazon said the Santo Tomas e-Service Providers will determine which of the computers are still functional.

Pharmacy faculty members have transferred to four other rooms in the Main Building: the guidance office, conference room of the dean’s office, consultation room, and the former office of community development.

After the incident, a general inspection was conducted by investigators at all rooms in Pharmacy. “We were all thankful that the laboratory [of physical pharmacy and biochemistry] was not caught by the fire because it is one of the largest laboratories in the Main Building that houses almost all volatile chemicals,” Tuazon said.

Tuazon said students become more careful because of what happened.

“Last Thursday, there was already a smell of burnt wire [in the faculty room]. They had it checked. When it was checked, there was no faulty wiring detected,” he said. Bernadette D. Nicolas with reports from Brylle B. Tabora


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.