RAGING FIRE. Firefighters battle the blaze that has been going on since late Monday evening (June 27, 2022) in Zamboanga City. The fire hit a warehouse storing flammable coconut products, fire officials say. (Photo courtesy of Cristine Falcasantos)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Nearly 20 hours after it started, local firefighters are still fighting a giant blaze at a warehouse storing coconut products.

The fire, which broke out around 11:05 p.m. Monday at the warehouse of the Philippine International Development Incorporated (Phidco), is still raging as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday due to the highly flammable coconut oil.

Chief Insp. Lucio Albaracin, city fire district marshal, said Tuesday the fire started at a pile of coco carbon after the hydraulic system of the payloader overheated and exploded.

Albaracin said the warehouse contains 250 tons of copra.

“The payloader operator tried to put off the blaze with the use of fire extinguisher but to no avail,” Albaracin said in an interview with reporters.

Albaracin said a command center has been established within Phidco's compound to closely supervise the firefighting operation.

At least 16 firetrucks from the central fire station and different sub-stations have been deployed within the seven-kilometer radius of the city as the fire reached alert level three.

Albaracin said the firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) are assisted by firemen of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Various private firefighting groups and the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office have also fielded their respective lorries to supply water to the firefighters as the blaze continues to rage as of posting time.

On Tuesday afternoon, the firemen evacuated the occupants of the six houses at the back of the warehouse for fear the firewall might collapse.

Based on assessment, Albaracin said the fire might last for two days more. They have yet to determine the estimated damage to property caused by the conflagration. (PNA)