Massive damage to Star City after hours-long blaze

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Fire razes Star City.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) – The blaze that hit Star City in Pasay City just after midnight Tuesday razed most of the amusement park's premises.

Paul Pili, Pasay City fire marshal, told CNN Philippines’ New Day that 80 percent of the main building of Star City, which is within the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Roxas Boulevard, has been damaged, including its Snow World structure and several indoor rides. The burnt structures were mostly made of wood.

But the rides outside the building are safe, Pili added.

Authorities said the blaze damaged ₱15 million worth of properties. Rudolph Steve Juralbal, vice president for legal affairs of the Elizalde Group of Companies that owns Star City, told CNN Philippines' News Night that they do not have their own estimates as they are still not allowed to enter the premises.

Star City spokesperson Ed de Leon said all of the amusement park's indoor rides were lost to the fire. He said the blaze "most probably" cost them ₱1 billion.

Initial investigation showed that the blaze may have started in the stock room where prizes and stuffed toys are stored.

Pili said investigators are looking at arson and electrical trouble as possible causes of the fire.

However, Juralbal extinguished arson rumors, saying they are even surprised that this angle emerged.

"We have no reason to believe why arson would take place because we don't know any group of person who would have motive to do so," he said. He added that the tweet had no connection with Star City, as it was originally referring to a fictional place in an American television series.

The fire reached alarm level Task Force Bravo, requiring 19 fire trucks to be dispatched in the area, at around 2:25 a.m. It was declared under control at around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, Pili said.

It was extinguished at around 2:02 p.m., according to the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The fire raged for at least 14 hours, destroying, if not reducing to ashes, some of Star City’s beloved indoor tourist rides and attractions, such as the Snow World.

He said that there was no immediate report of any casualty.

A building within the complex, which houses radio and television broadcast network Manila Broadcasting Company, was affected by the fire, but most of its operations will continue, Jularbal said.

MBC's radio stations have gone back on air, but its flagship AM radio station DZRH is still on limited operations.

Filipino Christmas without Star City

Julalbal earlier said that the amusement park will not open this Christmas season because of extensive damage from the fire.

However, he later told CNN Philippines that they are eyeing limited operations for the holidays, depending on the condition of the amusement park and if they get permission from authorities.

"We will not open until it is safe for the public," Juralbal said.

Should Star City remain closed for the holidays, it will affect thousands of park goers. Up to 80,000 revelers go to the entertainment park during peak season — such as the yuletide holiday — on weekdays, according to the Star City management.

During off-peak seasons, around 5,000 people visit Star City daily and 20,000 on weekends, it added.

"Tuwing magpa-Pasko, si papa madalas magaya mag-Star City, hindi naman siya nagra-rides. Gustong-gusto lang talaga manuod sa Aliw [Theater,]" April Neri said on Facebook.

[Translation: Every Christmas, my father usually asks us to go to Star City, but he doesn't go on the rides. He just really likes watching shows at the Aliw Theater.]

"After mo makuha mga aginaldo mo sa Pasko, isa sa plano niyo ang pumunta dito," Dan Tauyan Jr., another Facebook user said.

[Translation: After you get your cash gifts for Christmas, you usually plan to go here.]

Malacañang, for its part, called on government agencies to assist victims of the blaze in any way possible, as it expressed grief over the fire that ripped through the popular theme park and the MBC building.

“As we near Christmas, this is truly sad news knowing that Star City is a place where Filipino families visit to celebrate the Yuletide season. To our friends in the media who are affected, we wish to let them know that we are one with them in this tragic incident,” Palace spokesman Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.

"We call on government instrumentalities to extend any form of assistance to those hit by the blaze," Panelo added.

CNN Philippines' Paolo Barcelon, Catherine A. Apelo and Xave Gregorio contributed to this report.