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Fire destroys Nueva Ecija townhall

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SAN ANTONIO, Nueva Ecija, Philippines—A two-hour fire of unknown origin swept through the municipal hall here shortly after midnight Friday, destroying equipment and election materials stored there.

Chief Inspector Marcelino Veneracion, San Antonio police chief, said the fire started at 12:30 a.m. Saturday on the second floor of the two-story town hall.

Two police officers, who served as the hall’s perimeter security, alerted the local fire department but responding firemen said the blaze spread fast.

The fire destroyed equipment and documents stored in the building. It occurred two days after ballot boxes stored there after the May 13 elections were transferred to the regional trial court in Gapan City owing to election protests filed by incumbent Mayor Arvin Salonga against Mayor-elect Nonoy Lustre.

But  election materials deposited at the treasurer’s office were destroyed.

Firefighters from the neighboring towns of Jaen, Cabiao, San Isidro, San Leonardo and Gapan City helped put the fire out at 2:30 a.m.

This town was included on the election watch list. In June 2012, the police raided the house of Salonga and his supporters because of information that he kept unlicensed firearms.

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