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More fires in CV last year than in 2014

Kristine B. Quintas/RHM (The Freeman) - February 23, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Data from the Bureau of Fire Protection-7 showed that fires in Central Visayas last year increased by nearly 28 percent compared to incidents in 2014, and majority of them occurred in the cities of Mandaue and Cebu, particularly in slum areas where houses are made of light materials.

Cebu Provincial Fire Marshal Ronaldo Orbeta said there were 1,246 fires in 2015 compared to 977 in 2014.

Of the 1,246, at least 627 happened in Cebu province. Of the 2014 fires, 578 were recorded in Cebu. 

Orbeta said that the value of property lost to fire totaled to P99.6 million in 2015 and P82.2 million in 2014.

 He also said that majority of the incidents were caused by electrical misuse, especially in squatters’ areas where illegal wire-tapping is prevalent.

Some fires were also caused by candles and/or gas lamps that are left unattended resulting to fire.

BFP-7 Director Esmael Codilla, on the other hand, said houses of informal settlers in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue are usually made from materials that are readily combustible especially during the hot season.

“A mere spark can already trigger a fire then a conflagration,” he said. 

He attributed the significant increase in fire incidents last year to lack of information and delays in reporting fire incidents, among others.

Also, Codilla said their office has inspected 80,562 establishments (boarding houses, apartments, business establishments, passenger boats, and the like) in the region to ensure compliance to Republic Act 9514 (Fire Code of the Philippines). He said they targeted only 44,000.

 He said that of the inspected establishments, 3,569 were issued a notice to comply and 88 were issued a notice to correct violation. Most of these establishments were in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay.

The common violations, he said, were obstruction of exits and the lack of fire safety measures and firefighting equipment.

Meanwhile, with the observance of March as Fire Prevention Month, Codilla said they would be intensifying their fire safety and awareness campaign.

BFP personnel in the different parts of the country would reach out to the public, especially at the barangay level, to provide fire prevention information and to heighten fire safety consciousness in the community with their Barangay Ugnayan Program.

The celebration would kick off in Cebu with In Cebu with a “walk for a fire-free and a fire-safe nation” on February 29,which would be attended by officials of different local government offices and fire safety advocates.

On March 2, BFP will also conduct a five-minute blowing of the horns of all its firefighting equipment. — (FREEMAN)

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