ZAMBOANGA CITY A fire broke out anew amid sporadic fighting between the government forces and the Misuari-faction of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in this southern port city.
The fire broke out shortly before 3:00 p.m. Thursday just near the government-run Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) in Sitio Lustre, Barangay Sta. Catalina, east of this city.
However, the firemen were just allowed to get inside the ZCMC compound where they positioned themselves in a bid to put off the fire, according to reports over RMN-DXRZ-Zamboanga.
The fire was the second blaze which took place Thursday as the first broke out around noon time that destroyed the motorpool of the government-run Zamboanga State Colleges of Science and Technology (ZSCMST).
The ZCMC has been closed since Monday when fighting broke out and majority of the patients were transferred as the established satellite emergency hospital at the Bruno gymnasium of the government-run Western Mindanao State University in Barangay Baliwasan, west of this city.
The rest of the patients were transferred to some of the private hospitals and to the government-run Mindanao Central Sanitarium in Barangay Pasobolong, 12.8 kilometers east of this city.
The fire however continue to spread as most of the houses in Sitio Lustre are made of light materials and are closely-built to each other.
Over all, at least five fire incidents broke out since Tuesday at the height of gunfight between the soldiers and rebels.
Firemen from the Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD) rushed to the fire scene but was not allowed by the troops to go near the site so as not to become easy targets of MNLF snipers.
They were only allowed to position from a safe distance while putting off the fire.
Insp. Carl Blando of the ZCFD said they were forced to pull back, especially during the Tuesdays incident, as the approaching fire trucks were met by an explosion.
Luckily, Blando said all the firefighters were unscathed as well as the fire truck.
Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said it was unclear how the fire started but it appeared it was intentionally done. (PNA)