BACOLOD CITY–A portion of the historic St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church in Barangay Vito in Sagay City was damaged after a fire gutted a portion of the church’s interior late Friday night.
Based on a report of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), a fire call was received at around 11:17 pm.
By the time the firefighters arrived, the blaze had already damaged the right side of the church’s interior.
Arson investigators from the BFP believed that the fire quickly spread as that portion of the church was made of lightweight materials, particularly the ceiling, which was estimated to be a century old.
But firefighters managed to douse the blaze within a few minutes of their arrival, preventing it from totally gutting the whole church.
Damage was estimated at about P100,000.
In a statement, parish priest Reverend Fr. Joseph Tubiera said they believe the fire was caused by one of the church’s sound amplifiers, which they may have forgotten to unplug.
“At the moment, we are in constant coordination with the authorities to ensure the safety of other structures adjacent to the site of incident and to determine whether these areas are still viable for use for other spiritual activities of the community,” Tubiera said.
The parish community of St. Vincent Ferrer in Barangay Vito is also asking for prayers and all manner of support to help the church “thrive and recover from the untoward incident”.
Tubiera added the church will continue its worship services, but the damaged portion will be temporarily closed to the public.
St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church was established by Augustinian Recollect friars in 1860.
The church is known for hosting a religious ritual called “Palapak”, in which a century-old image of St. Vincent Ferrer is placed on different parts of a person’s body to cure ailments.
The church is one of the more popular pilgrimage sites in Negros Occidental, particularly during the Good Friday observance of the Holy Week. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)