Thursday, March 27, 2008

160-year Old Church Building Destroyed By Fire

I took a picture of its façade weeks ago when I visited the place. I had been inside the church just twice in my lifetime and could not remember the content of its dark halls. I know that the Oslob Church is one of the oldest church structures here in Cebu and is considered a heritage site. Oslob is a town 117 kilometers south of Cebu City and is my dad’s hometown.

But a fire that struck at early dawn yesterday destroyed the 160-year old building and the nearby convent. The cause is said to be a faulty wiring that first gutted the ceiling of one of the rooms. And the irony is that, the fire station is just 50 meters away. The town’s only two fire trucks were for repair, and the firemen and some residents really had to push the truck with a functioning hose. Superman and Batman were not there to help them, so they sought assistance from neighboring towns who were very quick to respond. The fire was under control by 430 am, as reported in the news.

Parishioners cried of course. In this town, the church is like a second home to them. The cost of the damage has not yet been reported and it seems that everything, including the precious archives, vanished with the fire. Surprisingly, the framed wooden image of the Immaculate Conception, secured by a glass case, was found intact in the ruble. “It’s a miracle!” they exclaimed.

Oh, yeah! This month is supposed to be a Fire Prevention Month. The defective trucks were previously reported to proper authorities and funds were already allocated. But someone is sleeping on his job.


Anonymous said...

What a loss for the town! Good for you, you have that picture for keeps. Sayang talaga.

Our town's (Oton, Iloilo) patron saint is also Immaculate Conception. When an earthquake in the 1940's destroyed the church, what was left was the icon of the Imaculate Conception.

kyels said...

Such a loss ... Pero you still have the picture to keep as a memento.


Lazarus said...

it is really a loss for the town, gladita and kyels. The cebu cardinal promised to rebuild the structure within a year. He'll have an architect assess the remaining thick stone structures if it can support a new one.

The tower and the facade were not destroyed.

Panaderos said...

That both firetrucks were out of commission was such a shame. Due to government bureaucracy, a town's treasure was lost. There are certain things that will never be recovered even if the church gets rebuilt.

Francesca said...

i think, we visited that church inside when michel and I went to cebu.

Inside, it needs a lot of reparations.

But no money...

Minerva said...

Very interesting indeed. I have been trying to trace this exact location. As far as I know my grandfather James Martin Hoffman died in this church during an earthquake in the late '40s. Does anyone have any information?