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No evidence of arson yet in Verde Soko fire

By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
Correspondent .

INVESTIGATORS did not rule out arson in the fire that consumed part of the 5,177 metric tons of plastic wastes from South Korea at the VNS Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. yard in Sitio Buguac, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental on Monday. But according to Tagoloan fire station chief Insp. Randy Obsioma, results of the initial investigation do not support an arson theory yet.

Obsioma said the flames did not just consume the surface but also penetrated underneath the mound of trash in the Verde Soko yard located at the Phividec Industrial Estate.

If it was arson, Obsioma said, the flames would not have gone deeper. The mound of garbage, placed in large sacks, stands more than five feet high.

His explanation was in reaction to the statement made by Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy who said incident “might even be considered arson because the burning was committed within the government’s industrial estate and the result was destruction of stored cargo for shipment.”

Obsioma said that since the fire penetrated the mound of trash, something on the soil’s surface might have served as a spark.

He said the penetration was also the reason it took a few hours for fire fighters to declare a “fire out,” and they had to bring in a backhoe and a payloader to prevent the fire from further spreading.

In his earlier interview, Obsioma said the conflagration could have been caused by the presence of methane gas found in the trash.

“Our investigators, so far, have not found any piece of evidence that points to arson,” he added.

Besides, he said, the Verde Soko facility was fenced and was guarded, making it difficult for intruders to come in and start a fire.

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