MEMORIES RAZED. The Gabaldon Building (upper photo) of Lala Proper Integrated School in Lala, Lanao del Norte province, before it was razed (lower photo) during a predawn fire Wednesday (Aug. 31, 2022). The 101-year-old school building sustained an estimated damage of PHP19.7 million. (Composite photos courtesy of LPIS)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A centennial school building in the Lanao del Norte town of Lala was razed to the ground in a predawn fire on Wednesday, destroying some PHP19.7 million worth of properties.

In an interview, Senior Fire Officer ll Jessie Cabigon, lead investigator of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Lala Fire Station, said the blaze occurred at the Lala Proper Integrated School (LPIS) past midnight and was extinguished around 4:51 a.m.

Cabigon said LPIS' Gabaldon Building, a 101-year-old historical structure, was leveled by the fire because of its old wooden materials.

"Based on our initial talks with the principal, the building had been repainted over the years with roofing improvements, but the building's columns were still made of wood," he said.

The Gabaldon building housed 10 classrooms.

Cabigon said they are set to interview the principal and other witnesses to ascertain the exact amount of damage and the probable cause of the fire.

He said LPIS has more than a hectare of property, with the Gabaldon building occupying some 1,392 square meters.

Meanwhile, in a statement on its Facebook Page, the LPIS faculty and staff said it would welcome partners from various sectors to help reacquire its losses.

"The Gabaldon building serves as the symbol of strength and life stories of the LPIS community for a century of standing bright," the statement said. (PNA)