Fire rages in Garapan, Saipan

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Guam – Yet another fire in the CNMI is adding insult to injury just eight days after Super Typhoon Yutu rained down destruction on the Northern Marianas. For at least the third time since the category-five storm ravaged the island of Saipan, a blaze broke out again. Yesterday a conflagration emerged in the rural village of Kagman. Earlier this week flames lit up the night sky in Achugao. Today a structure fire billowed smoke across the resort tourist village of Garapan.

A commercial building burned for several hours this afternoon as firefighters appeared to pump ocean water, emergency backup water, and private storage water through their hoses to douse the flames – any supply they could scrounge in the midst of the island’s post-typhoon water shortage.

The fire reportedly started at Pretty Market and soon set the Fujitec office building alight. The fire also threatened residential barracks just behind the road-front properties. Mr. Lee, the owner of nearby Saipan Fresh Market, told PNC his store contained many portable butane cartridges, as the fire raged on nearby. Century Hotel, next to Saipan Fresh Market, was locked down as firefighters sprayed through the inferno.

Century Hotel General Manager Ivan Quichocho told PNC that a blue tanker truck that was plugged into a fire engine is owned by the inn. “It’s pretty close. They’ve asked all of us to step away, but we’re struggling with water here. So I called our head office to fill the water tanker. I have two of my own guys right now helping  out. They have that water tank hooked up to the fire truck.

“They’re fighting the fire from the top  to the bottom…to stop the fire from spreading any further.”

As of 4:15 this afternoon, the fire department had reportedly pumped ten thousand gallons of water onto the fire. PNC is still gathering details on this developing story and will be reporting more online at pacificnewscenter.com and on the PNC Facebook page.