Investigators report having detected gasoline in an area of fire-devastated Star City that should not have been there, firming up the Pasay City Fire Marshal’s earlier suspicion that arson could have been behind last week’s blaze.
Fire Marshal Supt. Paul Pili said there is a strong possibility that the fire in Star City was started intentionally as they traced the source to the presence of gasoline on one of the indoor rides.
“‘Yung gasolina hindi dapat nandoon sa bangka bangka. Kung nakapunta kayo sa Star City, sumasakay kayo doon tapos umiikot ‘yung bangkang ‘yun, pa-circle siya, inaalon lang siya, so wala siyang makina so nakitaan natin siya ng gasoline, so hindi siya dapat nandoon,” he explained.
[Translation: The gasoline shouldn’t be on the boat ride. If you’ve been to Star City and you’ve ridden it, the boat goes around in a circle, it goes in waves so it doesn’t have an engine so it shouldn’t have gasoline.]
The fire marshals have sent samples to arson laboratories.
Pili added that they have scrapped the possibility of electrical problems as the cause since the park cuts off its power during closed hours.
He added that they will summon officers from Star City to present financial documents to prove that the company did not instigate the fire to collect insurance.
“‘Pag arson it’s either ibang tao, pwedeng may-ari. Pwedeng may-ari kasi they have control of the area,” Pili said.
[Translation: If it’s arson, it’s either other people or even the owners. It could be the owners since they have control of the area.]
“We will look into kung nalulugi sila o hindi [if they were incurring fiancial losses or not] ,” he added.
Star City officials called the bureau “irresponsible” for making that assumption and releasing it to the media without first consulting them.
“We are not aware of any motive, including financial gain, that would induce the commission on arson specially on the part of Star City as the business is profitable and a bumper Christmas Season was expected,” Star City management said in a statement.
The management also defended that the Bumper Boat ride runs on gasoline. Fire marshals also pointed out that there was cotton on the ride that possibly aided in dispersing the fire, but Star City said it is not unusual to find cotton that could have come from the stuffed toys available at the park.
“We feel that the statements made by the [Bureau of Fire Protection] were irresponsible given that the investigation has not yet been concluded,” said Rudolph Steve, vice president of legal affairs of the Elizalde Group of Companies. Star City is owned and operated by Star Parks Corporation, a subsidiary of the Elizalde Group.