Fire engulfs abandoned store

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Photo shows the fire engulfing the Pretty Market area in Garapan. (VALERIE NAPUTI)

Fire engulfed the abandoned Pretty Market in Garapan and numerous homes that surrounded it yesterday afternoon, tying up traffic on both Middle Road and Beach Road for several hours and belching a huge plume of black and brown smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.

The fire, which reportedly started at the abandoned Pretty Market building in Garapan, was so huge that, by the time firefighters got to the area, it has already spread to neighboring buildings.

According to DFEMS public information officer Bobby Jean Taisacan, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services received the report about the fire around noon.

Upon arriving to the scene, the fire was already engulfing the abandoned Pretty Market and was rapidly spreading toward the barracks behind it and the homes and establishments to the side of the abandoned building, Taisacan said.

Inhabitants of the homes and establishments surrounding Pretty Market were rapidly evacuated so there were no reports of any injuries or deaths, but a number of homes were destroyed in the fire.

An employee of Fujitec, the establishment right next to Pretty Market, said that they immediately evacuated once they started seeing the black smoke. He said they were not aware of what started the fire.

Taisacan said they were greatly concerned about the fire spreading to the Century Hotel, which was about 200 feet away, because the building has around 5,000 gallons of fuel that it uses to run its generators. Fortunately, the fire was contained before it could reach the hotel.

Taisacan said the fire was contained around 4pm, but still had to be completely extinguished as of press time yesterday.

The enormous fire caused a massive traffic jam on both Middle Road and Beach Road.

Shirley’s Coffee Shop located inside the Century Hotel was forced to close shop for fear of the fire traveling to the building and because the building was filled with smoke.

As of 5pm yesterday, the cause of the fire was still undetermined.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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