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QC bakery survives war but not fire

Almost two-hour blaze destroys 79-year-old iconic landmark in Kamuning area but spares 70-year-old narra tree By: Jhesset O. Enano - Reporter / @JhessetEnanoINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:08 AM February 07, 2018

BEFORE AND AFTER: Opened in 1939, the Kamuning Bakery Cafe was known for its baked goods and the old narra tree which provided shade to customers. —Edwin Bacasmas; Photo above by Niño Jesus Orbeta

Fire gutted the prewar Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City shortly after Monday midnight, hours after an adjacent restaurant went up in flames.

According to the city’s Bureau of Fire Protection, the blaze began at 12:52 a.m. on Tuesday in the second-floor stockroom of the 79-year-old bakery located at the corner of K-1st and Judge Jimenez Streets in Barangay Kamuning.

The fire reached the first alarm after several minutes before it was put out at 2:43 a.m., said Insp. Rosendo Cabillan, investigation chief.

 

All employees safe

Around P1 million worth of property was damaged, according to Cabillan, but fortunately, all of the establishment’s bakers and employees were safe since they had moved out after a blaze broke out in the bar next door 10 hours earlier.

The fire which hit the Mercantile Resto M Bar started at 2:08 p.m. on Monday and reached the second alarm before it was placed under control after more than an hour.

Although the flames did not spread to the bakery at that time, Cabillan said it was possible that some embers rekindled and started the blaze that destroyed the iconic bakery.

“It would take only a maximum of three hours for embers to rekindle,” Cabillan told the Inquirer in an interview. “The fire at the bakery began more than 10 hours later.”

Investigators are also looking at possible electrical failure as the cause of fire which quickly spread as the cafe’s structure was mostly made of wood.

Built in 1939, the bakery had served pandesal and other pastries baked in its pugon or wood-fired ovens. It was a famous landmark in the Kamuning area, partly because of the 70-year-old narra tree with its sprawling branches that stood next to it.

In 2015, the bakery began to host the weekly Pandesal Forum with politicians, artists and other newsmakers as guests.

These included former Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Loren Legarda, film director Joel Lamangan and several foreign diplomats, among others.

Newspaperman Wilson Lee Flores, who acquired the establishment in 2013, lamented its loss but expressed hope it would be rebuilt.

Memorabilia saved

Cabillan said the firefighters managed to save several memorabilia from the ruins, such as picture frames that showed visiting celebrities.

Flores was abroad during the incident but said that he “didn’t sleep all night” to monitor the blaze.

“I’m thinking of how to help my bakers and staff [on] their lost incomes in the coming weeks or months,” he said.

Loyal clients also expressed despair over the loss of the bakery.

“It’s sad and unfortunate,” Eugenio Roy Daza, a history enthusiast who bought bread and dined at the cafe, told the Inquirer. “Kamuning Bakery is a historical landmark in Quezon City. It’s like a page of a book was torn.”

Although the blaze destroyed the building, the old narra tree survived as Cabillan said only some leaves were damaged.

Flores, meanwhile, said he had already instructed his staff to water the tree and nurse it back to health.



Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net

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