After doing some paper works at the Division Office in Butuan City late afternoon this day, January 7, 2018, Dr. Arsenio T. Cornites, Schools Division Superintendent of Agusan del Norte, rushed back to his home in Cabadbaran City only to be welcomed by a phone call from the cashier’s office at around 4:45 pm telling him that the Division Office was on fire. Dr. Cornites wasted no time to go back and saw for himself the rubbles left by the unforgiving fire that consumed more than 90% of the entire complex.
Initial reports said that the fire started at around 4:35 pm at the back portion of the building where the dorms were located.
According to Cornites, a large portion of the building was made of wooden materials, which explained why the fire spread so rapidly. “Some structures in the old building,” Cornites said, “were actually remnants of the fire that occurred back in the 1980’s.”
Eleven fire trucks from Butuan City and Cabadbaran City manned by dozens of fire fighters rushed to the area, but the building was already beyond rescue.
At around 7:00 pm, the Bureau of Fire Protection, led by Chief Inspector Rey Antonio Restauro, declared the fire under control.
Following his own assessment of the situation, Cornites assured the division employees at the scene that office operations would resume within the week, as one agency already offered its unused building as a temporary office for the Division.
Cornites also considered the possibility of utilizing some newly-built school buildings as temporary office, and to just borrow some tables and chairs just to be able to do some tasks.
“Dili na namo ni langayon kay ang opisina ra man maoy naapektohan, ang operation didto sa field mag padayon man,” Cornites said.
Cornites however expressed relief upon knowing that the Records Section, the Accounting Section, the COA office, and the Curriculum Implementation (CID) office were untouched by the fire, saying that he would do his best to push for the construction of the new office building for the Division at the soonest possible time.